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Sunday, December 14, 2003

The Argus Leader censors the truth
Today the Argus Leader printed my latest letter to the editor. They did not put it on their web site, so I am posting it here. I am also including the one sentence they censored which I am presenting in bold Italics:

The front page of the 10/28/03 issue of the Argus Leader was another example of how this paper blindly takes Sen. Tom Daschle at his word. David Kranz’s promotional story on Daschle’s new book included the reason Daschle did not run for President: “…I wasn’t ready to give up on being South Dakota’s senator – or a Senate Democratic Leader”.

Kranz has yet to provide readers another reason many have talked about, which is Daschle’s position in the Senate being instrumental for his wife Linda to make big bucks as a lobbyist. Democrat Zell Miller questions the morality of this arrangement in his recently released popular book.

A controversy has developed regarding one of Linda’s clients. It involves the Air Force lease of 100 Boeing 767s, because it cost the taxpayers $5 billion more than simply buying the planes. The spin from the Daschle camp was that Linda only lobbies on commercial issue for Boeing. Again the Argus Leader blindly promotes this spin…this time with a 6/15/03 Randell Beck column.

A little research would have yielded a lobbying report signed by Linda Daschle on 2/14/2002. The report disclosed $60,000 Linda earned from The Boeing Company on lobbying issues that included H.R. 3338, P.L. 107-117. The very bill containing the controversial lease of Boeing 767s.

Now heads are rolling out of Boeing…where is the Argus Leader on this.

Here is the excerpt I was referring to from Beck’s 6/15/03 column:

The New York Times, I explained, published a story last week about mounting opposition to a $20 billion plan by the Bush administration to lease 100 air tankers from Boeing Corp. The plan has to be approved by Congress and, The Times reported, Boeing had hired Linda Daschle - wife of Tom Daschle, the Senate minority leader - as a lobbyist to represent the company.

"That just stinks, doesn't it?" the L.L.M.B. interjected.

"Please," I said, "let me finish."

I told her that the publisher of a newspaper in a certain town west of Sioux Falls learned about The Times bombshell and asked the Associated Press - the world's largest news-gathering service - to distribute the story to member newspapers. Which the AP did.

"So far," the L.L.M.B. said, "all you've done is confirm my suspicion - that you chose not to run a story that cast Daschles in a negative light."

"Honey," I said calmly, "the facts were wrong."

As we drove past the Washington Pavilion, my thoughts were interrupted by the sight of several young women lined up along 11th Street. Hookers, obviously. I picked up the cell phone to call Police Chief Doug Barthel. The L.L.M.B. jerked the phone from my hand.

"Finish your story," she ordered.

First, I explained, Linda Daschle has been a lobbyist for Boeing since 1998. Second, while she is a member of a well-known schmoozing firm, she doesn't lobby the Senate. Third, when she does go to bat for the airplane manufacturer, she handles commercial, not military, issues. She's not involved in the contract. And finally, while we can debate the propriety of a powerful lawmaker sharing living quarters with a powerful lobbyist, nothing has changed since this newspaper last published a story about her job. No news.

Emphasis added

A couple of weeks ago, I sent Beck the lobbying report that proves his position was not the gospel. On 12/10/03 I confronted Beck on this issue during the Argus on Air segment of Greg Belfrage’s Straight Talk. Beck’s response was that I was not telling the gospel and he used “crap” to describe my point.

Instead of investigating and reporting the facts in this case, Beck is covering them up. Yes, they printed some of those facts in my letter today, but he also attacked my credibility on the radio this week. Admittedly, I am also trying to do the same to him, but whose position does the facts support? You decide!

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