Friday, November 21, 2008

Facts or innuendo; Lanny Davis vs Indira Naidoo Harris

Lanny Davis, a friend and advisor to the Clintons, was interviewed by CBC's Indira Naidoo Harris about Hillary Clinton and her potential appointment to US Secretary of State. The interview was on the CBC1 show The Current, this morning. Setting aside the issues of Clinton's qualifications, Mr. Davis absolutely ripped Ms.Harris for using innuendo rather than facts.

It was refreshing to have someone demand facts- especially after the lapses of the CBC as noted in previous posts on this blog. Normally, I find The Current interesting and informative, but this morning they were caught with their pants down- They're too used to defensive guests, I suppose.


a condensed transcript from CBC Radio’s The Current for Friday,
Nov. 21
, courtesy the National Post


Notker Labeo said...

They weren't "caught" at all. They just had a belligerent guest who the interviewer had trouble keeping on track. Anyone who has read the papers or watched the news or listened to the radio in the last two decades would have no trouble coming up with Bill Clinton's 'baggage,' but the interviewer was avoiding a debate about specifics to return to the agenda, the legitimate question of 'will Bill Clinton's reputation either affect Hilary's ability to do the job or interfere with her Congressional vetting process?' She was doing her job, as, I suppose, Davis was, since he is a lawyer whose clients include Bill Clinton.

adamvs said...

Lanny Davis is intensely partisan- why would The Current invite a guest they know would have no objective position vis-a-vis the Clintons?
The producer's of the show expected an apologetic response for Mr. Clinton's past misdeeds. Instead they got push back.

The problem here is the increasingly shoddy level of research by the CBC. Look at the other examples mentioned on just my blog. The Current has usually been reliable- but this was just symptomatic of laziness.

adamvs said...

Additionally, the relevant baggage was Bill Clinton's foreign ties which seem vague at this time. How is his charitable organisation's activities abroad relevant to Hillary Clinton becoming Secretary of State? How does his post-white house activities compromise her? These have not been well documented- perhaps The Current should have researched them as an investigative piece.

Notker Labeo said...

I think you're right that they didn't have a good sense about what sort of an interview Davis would give, which reflects badly on the research.

But, minimally, there is a conflict of interest between raising funds from foreign governments and policy shapers, and the position of Secretary of State. The fact that the conflict is with a spouse doesn't mitigate it very much. If you then add that these vetting procedures are generally quite vicious, no-stone-unturned affairs, there is simply no reason for Davis to badger anyone. The line of questioning was completely legitimate.

Moreover, the baggage remark was not tied to the vetting procedure; it was a general-purpose remark introducing the topic of the Clintons. As such, it is completely incontrovertable. They do, in fact, have shippig containers full of it.

Nor was there anything else in the introduction that was questionable. There's nothing vague about the fact that Bill C had deals with the Saudi Royal family, the gov't of Kuwait, etc. There wasn't even a hint in the introduction that there was anything wrong with such deals, simply that they occurred. Those were the only facts at issue, and they are very clear. If Davis really did see innuendo where there was none at all, the appropriate response would have been to say that everything was above board, that innuendo would dissolve once the vetting procedure began, and that Hillary C would make a good SoS. Indeed, his rabid response should only serve to raise flags about those deals. He doth protest too much.

adamvs said...

Yes, there is a potential conflict of interest in foreign fund raising. But it is shoddy journalism to not raise specifics. What deals did Bill Clinton have? I haven't any knowledge of those "deals", and it is the journalist's job to state specific examples. Review the transcript. Ms. Harris tries to get back on track by asking Davis if he thinks Hillary Clinton will make a good secretary of state- She doesn't cite examples of deals that would compromise either Clinton, which would have been the logical follow up. What deals? What baggage? Be specific.

adamvs said...

Note: I don't publish gainsaying comments, especially from anonymous posters. Use your real name please.

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster