Tag Archives: David Corn

Hey, didn’t JFK settle this religious thing already?


I’ve always thought — or hoped, at least — that John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech in Houston settled the notion that a candidate’s religion should have no bearing on whether he could serve as president of the United States.

He told some Protestant clergy that the Vatican would not dictate to the Catholic candidate how he should govern, that he would swear to be faithful only to the U.S. Constitution.

Well, silly me. The issue is coming up again. The target this time is Dr. Ben Carson, the famed neurosurgeon whose faith is of the Seventh-day Adventist variety.

Donald Trump raised the issue the other day in typical tactless Trump fashion. Now comes a well-known lefty commentator, David Corn, editor of Mother Jones, to wonder aloud whether Carson’s faith would inform the way he would govern should he “take control of the government.”

This is a ridiculous debate.

First of all, presidents don’t control the government. We have this notion that power is spread among two other governmental branches — the courts and the Congress.

The Constitution says there should be “no religious test” for candidates seeking any public office. That includes the presidency.

Yes, Carson has brought up his own faith. He’s talked about how his faith would guide him. He hasn’t said he would toss the Constitution aside any more than then-Sen. Kennedy said he would more than five decades ago.

Corn is playing to voters’ fears when he says of Carson: “Now, he is running on the basis that he has faith. And I think it’s going to open, you know, a big can here. Because, you know, he does come from a church that believes in end times, prophesies, and he’s said he believes in the church’s teachings.”

A simple declarative question is in order: Dr. Carson, do you vow to uphold the law under the Constitution of the United States?

I believe he’s already pledged to do so.


O'Reilly sees the light on name-calling?

Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly had an eye-opening commentary Wednesday night in which he said Republicans should avoid name-calling and “smearing” of Democrats, namely President Obama and the woman who wants to succeed him, Hillary Rodham Clinton.


I don’t know what to make of this.

O’Reilly said this, according to Politico: “But any Republican candidate who says personal things about either the president or Mrs. Clinton will be making a tremendous mistake,” he added. Most Americans don’t like that line of attack, he said. “Once in a while, a takedown is necessary, but to make a living out of guttersniping” would be a “ticket to defeat,” he commented. “Smearing anyone should be unacceptable.”

So, let’s backtrack a few days. Mother Jones published a scathing report questioning O’Reilly’s coverage of the Falklands War in 1982. O’Reilly went immediately on the attack. What did he call David Corn, a co-writer of the lengthy essay? Why, an “irresponsible guttersnipe,” of course.

O’Reilly is correct to caution Republicans about the personal attacks. The Politico link attached to this post details some of the points he made on his “O’Reilly Factor” talk show.

However, whenever anyone gets under his skin and riles the fellow, O’Reilly is pretty quick to pull the hair-trigger on those who disagree with him.

Still, let’s hope he follows his own advice. Then again, his visible and vocal righteous anger is a big part of what draws his audience to his show.

'Kill zone' just a figure of speech?

Bill O’Reilly needs to settle down.

Mother Jones has written a scathing piece alleging that the Fox News talk show star fibbed about his coverage of the Falklands War in 1982 while he was working for CBS News.

O’Reilly has lashed out — savagely — against Mother Jones and one of the co-writers of the piece, David Corn. He said Corn will end up in the “kill zone. Where he deserves to be.”


Corn took the “kill zone” remark badly. Mother Jones editors have demanded an apology. They won’t get one. O’Reilly called it a “figure of speech.”

Oh, that Bill. He’s such a kidder.

I’m still waiting for O’Reilly to prove he actually prowled the battlefield in the Falklands while covering the brief conflict between Great Britain and Argentina. He hasn’t done that. Instead, O’Reilly has lashed out with a barrage of pejorative terms to describe Corn, Mother Jones and — as is his modus operandi — all those on the “loony left” who have criticized his work over many years.

Let’s get to the issue at hand, Bill: Were you on the battlefield — or not?

O'Reilly, Williams put media under the scope

Yes, there’s actually a lot of good that can come from the controversies surrounding two prominent broadcast journalists.

It is that the media — both print and broadcast — have been put on high alert to be sure they’re telling the truth and leave no doubt to their readers, viewers and listeners.

The world is watching. Carefully.


* Brian Williams of NBC News has suspended without pay for six months. His transgression? “Misremembering,” which is what he calls it, an event in which he reported being shot down by a rocket in Iraq in 2003. It didn’t happen that way, despite Williams’s telling of the tale. His credibility is in tatters and likely is damaged beyond repair.

* Now comes a blistering report that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly allegedly misrepresented his reporting from the 1982 Falklands War fought between Britain and Argentina. O’Reilly has said repeatedly he reported from the remote island battlefields. Mother Jones magazine has challenged O’Reilly’s assertion, to which O’Reilly — as is his style — responded by calling the writer David Corn a “guttersnipe” and a liar. A former colleague at CBS, where O’Reilly was working at the time, also has challenged Bill O’s account of where he was during that brief war. This one isn’t over.

Throughout all of this has been an interesting analysis of how the media do their job.

The U.S. Constitution protects the media from government interference, so there cannot be a government policing arm established to ensure the media tell the truth. That has to come from within the industry. And within all broadcast and cable news networks, as well as all print organizations, there must be some serious in-house discussions taking place to ensure that everyone who reports the news does so with impeccably.

There can be no doubt about the truth of what’s being reported.

The good that comes from all this tempest and tumult must be that journalists of all stripes are put on notice that the world is watching them with keen eyes and is tuning in with ears that hear everything.


Williams is unlikely to return to his anchor desk at NBC. As for O’Reilly and his career at Fox, well, stay tuned for that one. O’Reilly is always — always! — ready to unload against his accusers. He’ll just have to answer one question: Can you prove you were in the middle of the fight? If so, then let’s see the proof.


'Bloviator' O'Reilly's war coverage challenged

Bill O’Reilly’s brand on TV news is one of confrontation and — some would suggest — self-serving excess.

OK, I’ll suggest it, too. O’Reilly is full of himself at times.

He’s been all over the Brian Williams story and the now-admitted “misremembering” about the NBC News anchor being shot down in Iraq in 2003.

Well, the self-proclaimed bloviator is now facing a challenge of his own, from Mother Jones magazine, over whether O’Reilly actually witnessed combat during the brief war in the remote Falkland Islands in 1982, when Great Britain sent a flotilla to its territorial possession to rid the place of Argentine troops who had taken the island illegally.

“I was there,” O’Reilly has contended all along. Mother Jones disputes O’Reilly’s assertion.


This story is still developing, but as MSN reported, O’Reilly has been quick — imagine that — to respond to the allegations that Mother Jones has made that the correspondent did not face hostile fire, as he has reported for more than three decades.

MSN reports: “The (Mother Jones) website’s David Corn highlights several instances where the Fox News primetime host claimed to have covered the 1982 fighting in the Falklands War between Argentina and England up close–the issue is few reporters were able to cover the conflict up close due to the remote location of the war zone.”

I’m not going to make an assessment here of whether O’Reilly fibbed about his war coverage. I will, however, suggest that the Fox News TV talk show star’s aggressive reporting of others’ troubles — such as Brian Williams — exposes him to careful scrutiny by other watchdogs to ensure that he’s as righteous as he claims to be.

Here’s the Mother Jones article that O’Reilly asserts is “bulls***.” It’s lengthy. It’s also quite interesting and carefully detailed.


See for yourself. Is David Corn merely a “left-wing assassin,” as O’Reilly asserts, or is he an aggressive reporter?

As for O’Reilly, it appears he has to explain himself — without resorting to name-calling.