Is Dan Rather Biased?
Ask Senator Torricelli


June 15, 2001


Former CBS correspondent, Bernard Goldberg said of Dan Rather, “Dan can’t help it.  He doesn’t know he’s biased.”   

Goldberg further clarifies, “Consider this:  In 1996 after I wrote about liberal bias on this very page, Dan was furious and during a phone conversation he indicated that picking the Wall Street Journal to air my views was especially appalling given the conservative views of the paper’s editorial page.  ‘What do you consider the New York Times?’ I asked him, since he had written op-eds for that paper.  ‘Middle of the road,’ he said.  I couldn’t believe he was serious…if you see the New York Times editorial page as middle of the road, one thing is clear: You don’t have a clue.” 

Of one thing all can be certain: there are many clueless people in the United States.  A brief list includes a former President who doesn’t think fellatio is sex, a talk show hostess who thinks only her personal body guards need guns and a United States Senator who doesn’t think there is anything wrong with accepting 10 Italian-made suits, an $8100 Rolex watch, gold cuff links from Tiffany’s $600 gold earrings for one of his former girlfriends (all from a Chinese businessman who has pleaded guilty to making $53,700 in illegal contributions to that Senator’s campaign) and accepting contributions from a known Middle Eastern organization with terrorist ties, the Mujahedin-e Khalq. 

Enter Senator Robert G. Torricelli (D-NJ). 

Senator Torricelli is described by Newsweek as a man who, “…likes glamorous women and has long enjoyed being seen in their company.”  Senator Torricelli is also under investigation for criminal campaign activities along with three members of his staff.  Contributions to Torricelli’s 1996 Senatorial campaign have been under scrutiny for more than two years by the campaign finance task force of the United States Department of Justice. 

The Justice Department is investigating three issues involved with Torricelli’s 1996 campaign: 1) a June 1996 campaign event at a New York hotel that investigators believe was not fully declared and paid for; 2) not paying for a chartered plane supplied to the campaign by David Chang who has plead guilty to making $53,700 in illegal contributions to the 1996 Torricelli campaign and 3) failing to pay for a $6000 campaign event held at a Fort Lee, NJ hotel owned by Chang. 

Now comes the clueless dance.  Torricelli, through spokespeople calls the claims, “Ridiculous.”  Is the sky blue? 

Who is Robert G. Torricelli? 

Aside from being a Democratic U.S. Senator from New Jersey, he is apparently a man of sultry blood and actions. 

He has dated Patricia Huff, the ex-wife if Revlon mogul Ronald Perelman, watches Yankee baseball games from the luxury box of Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner, jetsetted around the world with Bianca Jagger and is known by Washington, D.C. insiders as the “Torch”. 

Torricelli is also a man of unquestionable temper and questionable ethics.   

In 1999, in a Democratic Senate Caucus meeting in the Library of Congress, after being mildly criticized by then New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, Torricelli shot back at Lautenberg, “You’re a fucking piece of shit and I’m going to cut your balls off!”  Very Senatorial temperament. 

On the ethical side….  When multimillionaire Russel Berrie suspected his then wife, Uni, of adultery, he employed the services of a private detective and (don’t be shocked) discovered that she was dating Torricelli.  To return the favor, Torricelli attempted to introduce legislation creating tariffs that would hurt Berrie’s business.  Senator Lautenberg reminded Torricelli that, “You have no right to use your legislative power to get even.”  At least he didn’t try to hang Berrie from meat hooks with piano wire. 

Then there is the case of accepting contributions from known international terrorists. 

The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), aka the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) is a group, which according to the State Department, engages in terrorist activities including the killing of American service people abroad and the November 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Iran. 

Torricelli has reportedly lobbied both the Congress and the President on behalf of the MEK.  Torricelli has also received at least $136,000.00 in hard money campaign contributions from MEK supporters and $23,000.00 in soft money contributions funneled to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee according to the Federal Elections Commission records. 

The commonly accepted perspective on “soft-money” donations is called “Payola”.  Or, as the CBS Evening News called it on February 26, 1998, “Republicans kill the bill to clean up sleazy political fundraising.  The business of dirty campaign money will stay business as usual.  Legislation to reform shady big money campaign fundraising is dead in Congress.  Republican opponents in the Senate killed it….” 

The Republicans probably killed it because they didn’t understand the exemption that if you are a Democrat and the money comes from foreign terrorist groups then, “soft money” is not only acceptable but also, CBS seems to have no problem with it. 

Dan Rather is certainly living proof that the CBS News team has little problem with Democrats raising “soft money”.  After all, Rather was the featured guest at an Austin Texas fundraiser for the Democratic party.  Just another one of those little $1000 a plate get-togethers for the working class. 

Mr. Rather, who wants you to believe his judgment about “life & death” matters on a nightly basis pleaded that, “…he hadn’t realized beforehand that the event was a fundraiser.”  Oh, forgot to mention that one of the events organizers was Robin Rather…Dan’s daughter.  Mr. Rather contends that, “I didn’t ask the question.”  He also probably never inhaled. 

Hooray…Dan Rather helped the Democrats raise $20,000 in “soft money”.  “This is what I do…I circulate among politicians,” said Rather. 

And by doing what he does, Rather has concluded that the Torricelli investigation, which dates back to the Clinton administration, is, “a Republican-motivated and led criminal investigation of him (Torricelli).”  CBS reporter Phil Jones adds that, “Torricelli believes the Republican-controlled Justice Department is out to get him.”  Jones concludes the report by shaking his head and warning that a Torricelli resignation, “could give Senate control back to the Republicans.” 

Would CBS rather (pun intended) have Senate control in the hands of Democrats taking contributions from terrorists?  Or is this just another case of a “vast Rightwing conspiracy” bogeyman.  I am sure that Mr. Rather might agree that this is politics and has nothing whatsoever to do with either ethics or the law because the Democratic party and the media seem to be above both. 

This could all just be a case of innocent confusion.  In his opening statement at the Senate Thompson hearings investigating the role of “soft money” in American politics, Torricelli soothed the crowd with this childhood remembrance:  

“It is among the first memories I have of the government of the United States and probably the first hearing of the United States Senate I have ever witnessed. It was only on a flickering television screen, but I will never forget it, and even if I tried, my family would never allow me. It was Estes Kefauver. He left the American people with the unmistakable impression, that because of the misdeeds of a few individuals, there was a general problem of the role of Italian-Americans in the commerce of this country.” 

Senator Torricelli, born August 26, 1951, was only five days old when the Kefauver hearings ended in 1951. 

Are you surprised?


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