Hume to viewer: I wanted to "infuriate you"

Jose Cuervo wants to heal the partisan wounds; George Clooney's Ashcroft bombshell. Plus: Morning political briefing.

Published January 22, 2001 12:35PM (EST)

Over the weekend, an e-mail was sent to political reporters from someone calling himself "libguy9754" blasting members of the media for focusing their coverage on President George W. Bush's Inaugural instead of nationwide protests over the election results, prompting at least one spirited defense from a Fox News anchorman.

"Why have you not covered the grass roots anti-inaugural protests as much as the Bush-sponsored inaugural events in Washington DC?" the e-mail asked. "Why have you chosen instead to serve as a public relations arm for the Bush presidency?"

Fox News managing editor and chief Washington correspondent Brit Hume responded privately to the spam:

Actually, those inaugural festivities at the Capitol are sponsored by the joint congressional inaugural committee. Do you seriously think a news organization should ignore the swearing-in of a new president in favor of scattered protests around the country?

Besides, we knew that covering it the way we did would infuriate you personally and that was an added plus.

Best wishes, Brit Hume

Libguy9754 then forwarded Hume's response to his entire e-mail list, complaining, "look at what your colleague wrote me ..." and convinced that Hume's response was evidence of the vast right-wing conspiracy. "This is the face of journalism today ... an arrogant right leaning group who think it's ok to toe the line for the government as long as it's a government run by Republicans," fumed libguy9754. -- Anthony York [2:35 p.m. PST, Jan. 22, 2001]

Cuervo ball
If the bipartisan promises are falling by the wayside early in the new Bush administration, tequila maker Jose Cuervo, "the ultimate party authority," wants to "look ahead towards bridging the gap left between the Republican and Democratic parties" by throwing a Caribbean summit between young, unattached members of the Gore and Bush clans.

"Jose Cuervo is extending an invitation to George P. Bush (President George W. Bush's nephew) and Kristin Gore (former Vice President Al Gore's daughter) to spend a weekend on Cuervo Nation, a remote eight-acre island oasis owned by Jose Cuervo Tequila, located in the British Virgin Islands, to show the world they can get along and are anxious to move forward," read the press release by UDV North America, the company that produces Jose Cuervo Tequila.

"By inviting members of the Bush and Gore families, we at Jose Cuervo are hoping to demonstrate that, given the right atmosphere and a beautiful beach environment, we can bring anyone together -- even members of both candidates' families," Velvet Mickens, a director of marketing for UDV, is quoted as saying.

The invitations, according to a spokeswoman, were sent to the press offices of Gore and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. They have not had a response from either party, but "We would hope that both would take us up on the offer," says Lara Hauptman of Jericho Communications. -- Kerry Lauerman [1:15 p.m. PST, Jan. 22, 2001]

Will this wind up on
"I'm very proud to be part of any film [the Coen brothers] do, although they aren't really brothers. That's a lie. And while we're confessing, I'm the illegitimate love child of John Ashcroft. I want that out there." -- actor George Clooney, during his acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards, after winning the prize for best actor in a musical or comedy for Ethan and Joel Coen's "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Daily briefing
With inaugural parade and protest debris nearly cleared from the streets of Washington, President George W. Bush starts his White House work on Monday.

His education plan could provide an opportunity for significant bipartisan cooperation, which has been lacking during the sometimes contentious Cabinet confirmation process. Democrats, however, are still balking at the Bush plan's inclusion of public school vouchers, which they contend would ultimately bankrupt the nation's neediest public schools.

Several Senate Democrats assert that Bush's planned $1.6 trillion tax cut package is reckless as well, but the president has gotten some help on that front from a new friend. Georgia Democrat Zell Miller will join Texas Republican Phil Gramm in sponsoring the tax cut proposal in the Senate. Miller says he is just being bipartisan, but rumors are rumbling that his support of the tax cut along with his plans to back John Ashcroft's nomination as attorney general are a prelude to a party switch. So far, Miller representatives insist he'll stay a Democrat.

Arizona Sen. John McCain has always professed his loyalty to the Republican Party, but his allegiance to Bush has been shaky ever since their battle in the GOP presidential primaries. McCain says he will not back down on his pet issue, campaign finance reform, to make things easier for the new president. Instead, he plans to make such reform one of the first issues in Congress that Bush will need to address.

Bush can also look forward to friendly fire from anti-abortion groups, which are eager to see a quick reversal of Bill Clinton's pro-choice policies. Organizations gathered in Washington Monday for the March for Life, a pro-life demonstration marking the 28th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, want Bush to act decisively on the issue.

During the presidential campaign, the pro-life Bush largely kept silent on the issue, as did his wife, Laura. Now, however, the first lady has stepped into the controversy by announcing that she supports upholding Roe vs. Wade, something the pro-life community certainly didn't want to hear.

Many conservatives were looking forward to not hearing from Jesse Jackson for a while. But the civil rights activist is returning to the public arena less than a week after he announced that he would leave it when news broke that he has a young child from an extramarital affair. At a church service on Sunday, Jackson thanked his family for standing by him. Although the pastor at Chicago's Salem Baptist Church said Jackson would be welcomed back to the public square, others want him to keep his word and disappear.

Meanwhile, citizen Clinton has returned at least temporarily to private life, spending his first full day as a regular guy unpacking at his new home in New York. A Newsweek poll shows that Clinton left office with a job approval rating of 68 percent. In contrast, Bush received a 59 percent approval mark for his handling of the transition.
-- Alicia Montgomery [6:15 a.m. PST, Jan. 22, 2001]

By Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------