July 2, 2007

Another Swing And A Miss At Thompson

Apparently the New York Times has not found much on Fred Thompson to derail his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination -- so the Gray Lady decided to take on his sons. The lobbying careers of Tony and Daniel Thompson get a load of innuendo, but in the end, the Times can't even find smoke, let alone fire:

But attending Brentwood Methodist Church in Nashville that night, Tony Thompson ran into the departing incumbent senator, Harlan Mathews, a Democrat. Mr. Mathews invited Tony to join him in a Nashville lobbying business, a job that would let him capitalize on his father’s new position.

“I don’t just believe in the tooth fairy,” Mr. Mathews said. “A lot of people were seeking access — not necessarily unfair access, but seeking access — so Tony was employed in a number of areas where his father had made a reputation or his father’s advice or whatever was going to be valuable one of these days.”

Now the elder Mr. Thompson, who also worked as a lobbyist before and after his eight years in the Senate, is aiming for an even higher post, preparing a run for the Republican presidential nomination. In the folksy drawl that built him a lucrative sideline as a screen actor, Mr. Thompson is presenting himself as a reform-minded outsider taking on Washington, just as he did when he campaigned for the Senate as “Ol’ Fred” the “real live country lawyer,” and cruised Tennessee in a rented red pickup truck.

But the lobbying work that Tony Thompson and another son, Daniel, did after their father won his Senate seat suggests how far the family has traveled from Fred Thompson’s early career. Not only has he parlayed his own political background into a lobbying business — a fact his opponents have seized on to challenge his outsider image — but his sons have also made lobbying a family affair.

The Times sets this up as a story about how Tony and Daniel have followed in their father's footsteps, presumably by leveraging their familial connections. Unfortunately, once readers get past the misleading headline and the first few paragraphs of the story, the meme falls apart. Neither son lobbied the Senate, whether Fred was in or out of office, and Daniel only handles state lobbying.

The rest of the article is a tired rehash of Fred's lobbying career. Once again, the Times rehashes the Lockheed Martin relationship to Oak Ridge. Lockheed lost that contract bid, of course, despite hiring Tony -- which demonstrates that Fred wasn't pressuring the federal government on behalf of old clients or for his son's career. Most of Tony's clients continued to employ him long after his father left the Senate and appeared to retire from politics altogether.

If the Times wants to run exposés on father-and-sons lobbying efforts, perhaps they should follow the Los Angeles Times' lead and look at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Unlike the Thompsons, the Reids' lobbying efforts involved the Senate, including Reid himself, who pushed for legislation favorable to his own interests and those of his sons. My column in last year's New York Post should have tipped them off to the shady dealings that prompted the Philadelphia Inquirer to call for Reid's resignation, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to demand a full ethics inquiry.

The Times, in ignoring the real Reid scandal for threadbare innuendo on Fred Thompson, demonstrates its status as a shill for the Democrats rather than an honest journalistic enterprise.

UPDATE: Mac has more at Heading Right, including the Times lack of reporting on the career of Nancy Pelosi's son, and the largesse earned by Bill Clinton from the same firm.


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Comments (16)

Posted by jeff | July 2, 2007 10:32 AM

and where was the Times on Harry Reid's sons and their interlocking lobbying relationships.

Posted by Immolate | July 2, 2007 10:43 AM

Shill... that resonates.

Posted by molonlabe28 | July 2, 2007 10:45 AM

It's also funny that father-son access to, and exploitation of, power was not an issue with respect to Harold Ford, Jr. (whose father recived a huge lobbying contract from an industry the day after Jr. was appointed to a committee which oversees it).

Posted by tgharris | July 2, 2007 10:46 AM

"The Times, in ignoring the real Reid scandal for threadbare innuendo on Fred Thompson, demonstrates its status as a shill for the Democrats...."

As if such demonstration of "shill status" was needed. BTW, you beat me to the punch on Harry Reid and his progeny.

Posted by RepublicansAgainstFred | July 2, 2007 12:41 PM

I dont care who endorses Freddie or comes out against him. I will never vote for Freddie. not in the primary and not in the general. He is a politcal HACK!

Posted by Carol Herman | July 2, 2007 12:58 PM

Fred's not a newcomer to politics. He knows all the Bonkeys have are crap to sling.

And, ya know what? Being that I read stuff on the Net; I already saw his answer. Which goes this way:

"The last time I ran against this sort of thing, I had a 20-point spread, when I won."

So, any candidate that can survive the mud bath; and come out on top; in a State where Algore LOST when he ran for the presidency; is good enough for me.

It's a pleasure knowing Fred's in the race. (And, it looks like McCain's "ship" is the first to go belly up) ... Is that the media won't own the race. And, ALL the candidates will be on their toes.

Abraham Lincoln's advice? Don't say nasty stuff about your in-house opponents. The winner, ahead, can work with a TEAM OF RIVALS. And, Doaris Kearns Goodwin turned a TEAM OF RIVALS into one of my favorite Lincoln books.

Oh, and Captain, it's this place that's growing stronger. Not the old media types at all.

Posted by Monkei | July 2, 2007 1:37 PM

These are still only "check-swings" at this time. When he announces and goes full time then let's see what the Romney's and St. Rudy guys come up with!

Posted by Okonkolo | July 2, 2007 1:53 PM

The worst damage to Fred this past week was done by none other than Fred. His comments regarding Cuban immigrants were unbelievably uninformed and off mark and seemed to say "not ready for big time" to me.

Posted by daytrader | July 2, 2007 2:03 PM

Heck and if they want another family affair, all they have to do is look at San Fran Nan's Pelosi kid and all his fingers in the SF land grab pie.

Posted by Tully | July 2, 2007 2:32 PM

What exactly is Chelsea up to these days? Still working for vulture capitalists? Nice gig for a history major.

Posted by Pastor Dan | July 2, 2007 3:31 PM

"The Times, in ignoring the real Reid scandal for threadbare innuendo on Fred Thompson, demonstrates its status as a shill for the Democrats rather than an honest journalistic enterprise."

Rather than "demonstrates" its status, I'd have said "confirms once more" that status. They and their masters are making themselves look really lame with this kind of silliness, not to mention the blatant hypocrisy.

Posted by Bill Faith | July 2, 2007 4:15 PM

One more for the "Fear the Fred!" files. Not even in the race yet and he already has them worried. I linked.

Posted by patrick neid | July 2, 2007 4:37 PM

by the close of 2008 the repubs will have had the white house for all but 12 years of the last 40 years. the 12 years for dems included history's worst president and another who was brought up on impeachment charges, aside from getting bj's from an intern. this remarkable achievement was accomplished without the support of the press and for the most part congress. if prophesied it would not have been believed. it's usually a truism that without the press nothing is possible.

just imagine what could get done in this country if the press was just balanced which is to say, they smeared equally.

Posted by lexhamfox | July 2, 2007 4:57 PM

I think articles like this are good. You can always refer back to them as pretty much exonerating the people involved, especially when rumours get going nearer to election time. I read the article and I felt that he came through smelling pretty good and, as Ed suggests, there are some pretty strong smells around DC so I think this is actually positive news.

Posted by Del Dolemonte | July 2, 2007 5:20 PM

I'm still waiting for the NY Times' "exclusive report" on the many decades that Democrat Lyndon Johnson spent taking money from and giving out no-bid contracts to "Dick Cheney's company".

Posted by Monkei | July 2, 2007 6:13 PM

another who was brought up on impeachment charges, aside from getting bj's from an intern

another example of a Congress going against the wishes of the public, we should all be very used to that by now.