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Monday, March 06, 2006

That Bulge In My Pants? It's Just My Wallet

Somebody needs to get ahold of the people who book Meet the Press and throttle them.

When their normal Republicans-only schedule is occasionally peppered with Democrats it's either the henpecked James Carville who won't say a thing against the Vice President (and as Digby has noted this sure didn't hold true for Mary Matalin during the Clinton years), Joes Klein or Lieberman who spews GOP talking points so Tim won't have to, token "liberals" like Doris Kearns Goodwin who tell knee-slappers about the Van Buren administration while John Meecham's grenades against Howard Dean go unanswered, or people like Joe Biden and John Edwards who are so busy running for president they won't utter anything even slighly contentious about the administration.

But they should at least do some due diligence about the people they invite on to discuss a particular topic. Jack Kemp was in full-throated support of the Dubai Ports World deal yesterday. But as Arianna notes, there's quite a bit he left out:
"It's the right thing to do," he said, calling the UAE a "valued ally" and reiterating the claim that canceling the deal would, as he put it in his column, "weaken our own national security and our chances for peace and liberation throughout the Middle East and Africa" (Shades of Andrea Mitchell, another die-hard member of the establishment, who suggested on Hardball that killing the ports deal could lead to rioting in the Muslim world).

What Kemp didn't say is that the UAE has invested millions in Free Market Global, an energy-trading company that he chairs.

You think all those zeroes might have had some influence on his opinion? Maybe not. But I'm pretty sure that a disclosure of his financial connection to those he was so fulsomely praising would have had some influence on the opinions of those watching.

Especially if viewers learned that Gen. Tommy Franks, whom Kemp used as his debating trump card -- quoting both in print and on Meet the Press the General extolling the Emirates -- is on the advisory board of Free Market Global, and stands to profit from maintaining good relations with the oil-rich emirs.

I called Kemp to ask him why he hadn't mentioned this intersection of interests, but I haven't heard back, even though I said why I was calling. Or perhaps because I did.
If Meet the Press was anything more than the New Pravda, they'd open the next show by saying "last week, we invited Jack Kemp on to speak on the UAE ports deal, and he did not disclose his close financial ties to the owner of Dubai Ports World. We apologize."

Don't worry, I know it's not going to happen. But it should.