Tuesday, August 26, 2008

NPR gets letters

Dear Morning Edition:

Your report on Sen. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania on Tuesday morning's program only made it part-way through the first sentence before repeating a falsehood that's been debunked many times over the past few years:

Sen. Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania will speak Tuesday at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, where his dad was denied a speaking role at Bill Clinton's 1992 convention for opposing abortion rights.

Not true. Casey Sr. wasn't invited to speak at the convention, but not because of his position on abortion (eight other speakers at that convention were abortion opponents). It was because Casey Sr. had refused to endorse Democratic presidential nominee Bill Clinton, and the Democratic National Committee's rules plainly--and understandably--held that anyone who didn't endorse the party's nominee was disqualified from speaking at the party's convention.

The full history of the incident is available from watchdog group Media Matters--including Casey Sr.'s description of Clinton's support as a "flyspeck;" and his intention to use his speech simply to attack the abortion plank of the party as "far out of the mainstream and on the extreme fringe," without mentioning (let alone endorsing) either Clinton or Gore.

The Republican Party would never allow platform time for a stunt like this from someone who had refused to endorse--or even mention--the party's nominee; why would anyone expect the Democratic Party to do so?

The canard that Casey Sr. was denied the chance to speak simply to silence him on abortion has been put to rest for quite some time. The only two groups still interested in perpetuating the story are Republican operatives hoping to stir up a little trouble in the Democratic ranks, and journalists who don't do their homework.


Bill Nothstine
Beaverton OR
Member, Oregon Public Broadcasting
Listener, KOPB Portland

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