The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, April 25, 2005

Frist lies, media complies

Another blogger hat trick. I'm linking to Kos, since all the pertinent links are there, although the relevant parts of the story come from TPM and Eschaton. The word is that (after the NYT article I cited last week where the GOP is starting to use the term "constitutional option"-- see 'The return of Newspeak.') Republicans want the media to stop using "nuclear option," which they themselves seem to have invented. It just isn't polling well.


"I've been made privy to the internal communications of a number of national news organizations at which there are now running arguments over whether to go along with the Republican claim that 'nuclear option' is a Democratic epithet or term of abuse which should be banned except in cases where Democrats are directly quoted using it."


On November 14, 2004, there was the following exchange on Fox News:

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about one of them, because some Republicans are talking about what they call the nuclear option, and that would be a ruling that the filibuster of executive nominees is unconstitutional, which would require not 60 or 67 votes but only a simple majority of 51.

FRIST: Yes. That's right.

WALLACE: Are you prepared to do that?

FRIST: Oh, it's clearly one of the options. I've always said it's one of the options.

What it basically -- it's called the nuclear option. It's really a constitutional option. And what that means is that the Constitution says you, as a Senate, give advice and consent, and that is a majority vote. And then you vote on that, and that takes 50 votes to pass.

On November 16 he said to NPR:

Sen. FRIST: If we continue to see obstruction where one out of three of the president's nominees to fill vacancies in the circuit court are being obstructed, then action would be taken. One of those is the nuclear option.

Just like Bush's claim to have never said 'privatization.' The media caved on that one. I predict another cave here.

UPDATE: Media Matters has tracked down the origin of the term 'nuclear option,' and it comes from Mississippi GOP senator Trent Lott. Nevertheless, various press outlets are already falling like dominoes to be first to let the Republicans rewrite this bit of history: