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Leslie Stahl's Selective Anger Over Buying Politicians


Hey, I’m stealing the line that Leslie Stahl used in her interview with lobbyist Jack Abramoff on “60 Minutes.” I’m mad at you, Leslie.

To Abramoff, she said, “I’m mad at you” when he confessed to her on camera that he was buying politicians (old news, yes, but it must be brought up again.)

It was classic TV drama, Stahl with facial expressions and comments made it clear that she was angry at how Abramoff was ruining the country.

“I really think that what you were doing was subverting the essence of our system,” said Stahl.

“I’m mad at you, I’m not kidding, I’m not kidding,” as she closed her eyes and shook her head in disdain.

“I’m sick to my stomach…’cuz it’s hurting our country.”

Okay, Leslie, we got it. You’re mad.

I guess I’m mad at you because I wish you would show even a portion of the same anger towards those in power “subverting the essence of our system” as we speak.

First, you go after people who are no longer in power. That’s easy, that’s a layup. How hard is it to be mad at corrupt people no longer in power? I’ll join you. I’m mad a Jack Abramoff too (but since he’s a corrupt Republican selling a book, he gets airtime.) There; we’re all mad at Jack Abramoff. Grrr. I’m going to growl to show how mad I am. While we’re at it, can we get mad at Nixon again?

Second, my theory in reporting is that it is 10 times better to go after the people in power who choose to be “bought” by the lobbyists, than it is to go after the lobbyists. The corruption lies in those who succumb to the temptation, not so much the tempters. The temptation to be a corrupt politician will always be there, no matter how you try to legislate against it (as you suggested at the end of your piece,) let’s focus on politicians who are being bought.

Leslie, are you mad at Harry Reid? He took money from Abramoff and wrote at least four letters to Indian tribes that Abramoff represented to try to get them approved for gambling. Reid later returned the money, but if that’s the only standard here, anybody could take whatever cash they want, give favors, then wait to see if they get caught. You should’ve mentioned this in your story and perhaps even called Reid to get a comment. That would’ve been fun to watch you confront the current Senate Majority Leader to see what he would have to say about his ol’ buddy, Abramoff. Good TV right there. I’m curious why you didn’t do that. Does this have anything to do with the fact that Reid is a Democrat and currently in power so instead of doing something substantive you chose to take the layup? Goodness gracious, you’re at “60 Minutes,” I’ve seen better reporting in Yakima, Washington.

Leslie, are you mad at Barack Obama for saying he would have no lobbyists in his administration, then we all know how this game works; the political party of the perp gets mentioned when Republicans are involved, virtually ignored when Democrats are involved.

Finally, and I will address Ms. Stahl here again: Leslie, breaking news, you’re not going to like hearing this, but as a member of the activist old media, you are a lobbyist.

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