Rush Limbaugh is reporting on his website that CBS News (either interviewer Gloria Borger or a producer working for CBS Evening News) took a Ken Starr quote provided in an interview that pertained to the practice of "invoking judicial philosophy as a grounds for voting against a qualified nominee of integrity and experience" and portrayed it on Monday evening's broadcast as a criticism of the Senate Republicans' effort to "invoke the nuclear option" as it pertains to ending filibusters of judicial nominees. The two have nothing to do with one another.
First the Starr quote used by CBS:
STARR: This is a radical, radical departure from our history and from our traditions, and it amounts to an assault on the judicial branch of government. It may prove to have the kind of long-term boomerang effect, damage on the institution of the Senate that thoughtful senators may come to regret. (link)
Then Rush's (and Starr's) explanation of the alleged deceit:
RUSH: Starr said, "I didn't say that about the nuclear option. I was talking about something else." This is an excerpt of the Starr e-mail: "I have now seen the CBS report. Attached is an exchange with Steve Engle, who alerted me earlier today to the other dimensions of the wild misconstruction of what I said in the Gloria Borger interview. Here's a brief background. I sat on Saturday with Gloria Borger for 20 minutes approximately, had a wide ranging, on-camera discussion. In the piece that I have now seen, and which I gather has been lavishly quoted, CBS employed two snippets. The 'radical departure from our history' snippet was specifically addressed to the practice of invoking judicial philosophy as a grounds for voting against a qualified nominee of integrity and experience. I said in sharp language that that practice was wrong."Rush went on to say that CBS has - so far - refused to provide Ken Starr with a copy of his interview with Borger.
Anyway our folks here at Pepperdine's public information office are scrambling to get the full transcript of the entire interview but our friends are way off base in assuming that the CBS snippets as used represent, A, my views, or B, what I in fact said. Kindly feel free to share this message with anybody you deem appropriate." Well, the message has been shared with me. So we have something on the order, not quite to the full extent, but we have something on the order of the Dan Rather forged documents.
How pathetic - and brazen - is this?
Update: Mickey Kaus has a different take on the matter.
Limbaugh says "CBS is refusing to give Ken Starr the full transcript." I can't think of any reason why CBS shouldn't just release the complete video of the Starr-Borger interview--immediately, if they're smart, whether they are guilty or not. If they don't release the "full" interview at least they should release the portion of the transcript surrounding the Starr "boomerang" quote. But it sure looks as if Starr, Burkean that he is, did indeed say that a rules change--which is what the "nuclear option" would involve-- might "boomerang" and do long-term harm, which is what Borger said he said.The only problem with this interpretation of the Limbaugh article is that Ken Starr himself disputes the language used by CBS News. That's why he submitted the email in the first place. No word yet from Gloria Borger.
Of course, it's possible the video will show Starr urging senators to (cautiously and prudently) adopt the anti-filibuster rule change even though it might "boomerang" and "damage the institution."** In that case Borger was deceptive--and Scheiffer was wrong when he said, later in Borger's report, that Starr was "coming out on what looks like the opposite side of many [in] the conservative wing of the Republican party." It seems much more likely, though, that Starr is now trying to wriggle out of the anti-GOP implications of his sincere on-camera utterance.