Monday, August 15, 2005

Here's a big uh-oh for Dick Durbin. Remember the story about Dick Durbin asking John Roberts about conflicts between his faith and decisions he might have to make on the bench? And remember that Durbin's office first denied that the conversation took place as Turley said it did and then Turley got mad and revealed that Durbin had actually been his source for the story. Well, now Turley is still mad at being called a liar by a senator who was actually the one lying to him and he has revealed that he has the voice of Durbin's spokesman on his answering machine approving the story and just requesting that Durbin's name be left out of it as a source.

It appears that the first lie was the way Durbin said the conversation with Roberts went in the first place. Durbin apparently lied to Turley at first by saying that Roberts said he would recuse himself from any decision that conflicted with his religion. But the people who were from Roberts' side deny that is what he said. And it would have been a big story if it had been true. But it wasn't and Durbin himself denied that that was what Roberts said when the story broke. That is when Turley went public saying that Durbin was the source for the first story.

So, you have a senior Democratic Senator, the Minority Whip, claim that a Supreme Court nominee said he'd recuse himself from cases that conflicted with his Catholic faith. That is a major story. Given how circumspect Roberts has been on how he would plan to vote, this raises all sorts of interesting questions about what he would consider a conflict. Then it turns out that the Senator is LYING about what Roberts said. And he thought he could get away with it because he was hiding behind being an anonymous source. So now the story is that the Minority Whip of the Senate LIED about what a Supreme Court nominee said and he LIED about the conversation to a journalist in order to put a story out about Roberts and his religious faith. That is descpicable and goes way beyond just a media story about lying to a reporter. He lied about what a potential Supreme Court justice had said. Was he planning to bring up the fictitious statement later on if Roberts got on the Court and didn't recuse himself from some capital punishment or abortion case? Was he planning to use this fictitious statement in the hearings. Remember, Durbin is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will be questioning Roberts. Roberts will be under oath, but Durbin won't. Who knows what Durbin's motivation was to lie to Turley about the substance of what Roberts had said in a private conversation, but he did so and we shouldn't forget it.

You would think that the rest of the media would be interested in this brouhaha. They live and die by having sources talk to them in Washington. To have a source give them a story and then deny it and basically call the reporter (which was what Turley was for this story) a liar when the source himself was the one lying is something that hits them where they live. The fact that it is the Minority Whip in the Senate just makes the story more newsworthy. But I predict that no other news sources than those with a conservative bias like the Washington Times or Fox News will revisit the story. We'll see if the L.A. Times does since theirs was the paper in which Turley's column first appeared. Don't they care that something appeared in their editorial pages that was based on a lie told by a Senator who then tried to make the columnist look like he was the one lying?

Perhaps future stories about Dick Durbin could include the explanatory line saying that Dick Durbin, a Senator who had to apologize for comparing conditions at Guantanamo to the Nazi death camps, and who once lied to the press about a story he told Jonathan Turley, said.....

I know. In my dreams....