Monday, June 05, 2006

Harwood, CNBC and MSNBC lean left for Duckworth

“Democrats think they have enlisted a candidate [Major Tammy Duckworth] to capture the 6th CD [in Illinois],” says John Harwood of the Wall St. Journal and CNBC in his CNBC video [See here]. Harwood notes the District usually votes Republican [Perhaps a slight understatement in describing the District’s election of Republican Henry Hyde in the Watergate year, 1974, and his re-election every year until he decided, last year, not to seek re-election.] But, the Harwood bias gets worse from there.

Harwood says Duckworth “counts on her War record to neutralize Republican’s edge on terrorism.” Of course, Harwood neglects to tell you that Duckworth has stated that it was a mistake for the U. S. to go into Iraq, and that she volunteered to go to Iraq not because she believed in the military effort, but out of loyalty to her National Guard platoon. While there are polls indicating that a slight majority of the country [54%] now thinks that the War was a mistake, I have not seen polls saying the 6th CD agrees with that proposition.

Harwood’s video contains a clip of David Axelrod saying, “this Republican [Bush] experiment has run out of gas…” Interestingly, Harwood’s video identifies Axelrod as a Democratic strategist. That he is, but Harwood’s video neglects to tell you Axelrod also has been a significant player in Duckworth’s campaign, with his firm receiving over 200K for Media consulting fees and media buys through the last reporting period.

In contrast to all the positive stuff about Duckworth and the mood of the country going Democratic, Harwood tells you little more about Senator Roskam, other than, “he has experience, 12 years in the state senate [and] briefly an aide to Tom Delay, three times as much campaign cash and a local political network.”

“Briefly an aide to Tom Delay,” is an interesting way for Harwood to slant it. Twenty years ago Roskam interned for Delay. An aide? Perhaps, but misleading as all Hell and especially when you leave out the “twenty years ago.” Three times as much campaign cash? Perhaps. But, partly that is because Senators Durbin and Obama, DCCC Chairman Emanuel, and National, state and local media guru, David Axelrod, weren’t able to pull together their turnkey operation for Duckworth until mid-December, 2005, a week before the filing deadline. All of those Democrat powerhouses behind Duckworth are left out of Harwood’s one-sided report.

Harwood makes it sound like Major Tammy Duckworth became the 6th CD Democratic nominee after a ground swell of support from the grassroots and netroots, as opposed to having the blessing and support of the Democratic Party honchos, fat cats and national celebrity pols. And Harwood neglects to mention that most of the campaign differential in cash reflects the fact that Duckworth had a tough primary, but Roskam’s was uncontested.

Indeed, talking about a tough primary, Harwood neglects to mention that Major Duckworth squeaked by Christine Cegelis in the 2006 Primary. Cegelis had come within 12 points of beating Congressman Hyde in the 2004 general election, and Cegelis thought that earned her the Party’s support instead of enmity. Indeed, many think Cegelis would have beat Duckworth, national money and all, in 2006 had Wheaton College Professor Lindy Scott not drained some of the anti-Duckworth vote from the Cegelis Campaign in the Democratic Primary.

Harwood gives the viewer no idea of the hostility of the former Cegelis supporters for Duckworth, the lukewarm endorsement that Cegelis gave Duckworth after the Primary and the real doubt as to how many of those folks will make it to the polls for Duckworth.

Harwood concludes by asking if Duckworth is “an irresistible force,” for which Bush tax cuts may not carry the day for Roskam.

In short, John Harwood, affiliated with both CNBC and the Wall St. Journal as a reporter, has distorted the status of the 6th CD contest. If you knew nothing about the 6th CD contest before watching the Harwood video and reading the Curry piece, you would walk away after the video and reading the Curry piece, thinking a vote for Duckworth is a vote for national security and therefore an irresistible force to voters in the 6th. You would think Roskam is a Tom Delay stooge and crony who has nothing but big bucks going for him. And, you would think Major Duckworth is a product of the netroots and grassroots, who would also have the support of those who focus on national security.

Now, Duckworth has many positive attributes and she might win the 6th CD contest. But, by leaving out the negatives of her primary contest, the Chicago Democrat backing [as Roskam puts it] and the lack of any real connection to the 6th CD, or to any CD similar to the 6th, Harwood gives typical left, slanted MSM coverage. Many people think that journalistic affiliation with the Wall St. Journal means conservative bias, if any. But, of course, that is patently false. The editorials of the WSJ slant strongly conservative. But, WSJ reporters come from the same fabric as other MSM reporters, and they slant left. Indeed, it often seems to be the case that WSJ reporters either don’t read the WSJ editorials or they simply find them unpersuasive.

A print piece by MSNBC’s Tom Curry [See here] supplemented, nine days later, the Harwood video, but did little to remedy the Harwood bias. Instead of giving the reader an understanding of the dynamics of the March, 2006 Democratic Primary that Duckworth won, Curry tells us that “Senator Dick Durbin…asked Duckworth to run…but two other Democrats weren’t willing to step aside…” That’s all the reader learns about the Primary, not even the names of Duckworth’s opponents, let alone how those hostilities might affect the vote in November for Governor.

Curry did not report of an interview with Democrat Cegelis which might give us a sense of how Cegelis feels about Duckworth and what Cegelis has done and will do for Duckworth. Curry managed to track down, however, State Senator Carol Pankau for her comments. Curry forgot to tell his gentle readers that Pankau might not be so objective on these matters, as she reportedly was pushed out of the Republican Primary with Roskam by some of his allies, after she had appeared to be in the race for about a month. Indeed, Sen. Pankau emphasized one of her strengths during the brief period she opposed Sen. Roskam to be the fact that she was a female. And, about Duckworth, Senator Pankau said, “She’s a war hero… and she’s female.”

And, what can we say about John Harwood? He leans left and he is a male. The former is relevant to an understanding of what you see and read from Harwood. The latter? Not so much.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at