CNN Airs Gushing Two-Part Report on 'Powerhouse' Anti-Prop 8 Lawyers
CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger returned to her roots as a
slanted journalist on Wednesday's Newsroom with a glowing two-part
report on Ted Olson and David Boies, the former rivals in Bush v. Gore
who are now fighting to overturn California's Proposition 8, which
outlawed same-sex "marriage." Borger portrayed their coalition as "a
script that could have been written in Hollywood."
Anchor T. J. Holmes introduced the first part of the analyst's report just before the bottom of the 1 pm Eastern hour. After noting that closing arguments had begun in the lawsuit against Proposition 8, Holmes stated that the challenge was "the story of two powerhouse lawyers who have turned the partisan divide on its head. Ted Olson, a Republican, and David Boies, a Democrat, famous arch rivals in Bush v. Gore, have now joined together in this fight. It reads like a novel, which may explain why Hollywood had a lot to do with it."
Borger, who, before joining CNN as an analyst in 2007, served as a political correspondent for CBS News, continued on the Hollywood theme: "It's a script that could have been written in Hollywood. The opening shot? A lunch in the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and it starts where you might expect, with a Hollywood heavy hitter: director and actor, Rob Reiner." She featured Reiner, a well-known liberal, throughout the first part of her report, as well as Chad Griffin, a former Clinton administration staffer turned activist for same-sex "marriage."
Later, the analyst did her best to establish Olson's apparent conservative credentials, all the way emphasizing his service to the anti-Proposition 8 cause:
OLSON: I'm a lawyer. I represent cases involving the Constitution. This is an important constitutional question. Yes, I think that when we hurt people, when we tell them they're no good. We tell them that they're not equal to us, and we say, your loving relationship doesn't count? The words in the California Constitution are that your relationship is not recognized. What harm do we do? What harm do we do to those individuals every single day, to their family, to their friends? We're putting a badge on them that says unequal, and that's contrary to everything we believe in this country.
BORGER (voice-over): So Ted Olson took the meeting with Griffin. They kept it a secret, though.
BORGER (on-camera) Here you are with Donald Rumsfeld.
BORGER (voice-over) After all, Olson is a conservative legal icon.
BORGER (on-camera) Of course, one of the first things you see when you walk through your door in this office is a picture of Ronald Reagan.
OLSON: He was a wonderful, wonderful man to know and to work for. And, of course, President Bush is here, too.
BORGER (voice-over): That would be Bush 43.
FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: And I will to the best of my ability-
BORGER: The President whose election Olson successfully defended before the Supreme Court in 2000, a memory that wasn't lost on Chad Griffin.
GRIFFIN: I knew I was in foreign territory. But I saw enough in that office to know just how Republican- you know, of a world that Ted Olson comes from, and my world could not be more different than that.
Near the end of the first part of her report, Borger revisited her
show business theme as she noted the former solicitor general's
partnership with his former adversary in the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court
case, David Boies:
BORGER: ...Olson made another move right out of central casting. He wanted to hire a co-counsel. Of all people, the liberal David Boies, his former Supreme Court rival, the man he beat in Bush versus Gore. The director [Reiner] loved it.
REINER: And then when he suggested that we get David Boies to be his co-counsel, I thought- wow. To get the two guys who opposed each other on Bush v. Gore, to team up was saying that this is a nonpartisan issue.
GRIFFIN: They share an abiding belief-
BORGER: Not to mention, irresistible public relations.
WHALEN: I think Ted recognized that this odd bedfellows combination, so to speak, would get a lot of attention.
BORGER (on-camera): So people call them the odd couple.
WHALEN: Well, it's- it is a very odd couple, isn't it?
BORGER( voice-over): Or is it? judge for yourself.
OLSON: As we were getting ready to argue Bush versus Gore, did we have this conversation?
BOIES: Yes- exactly- in the chamber, in the chamber.
OLSON: We said, someday, someone is going to come to us who will want to get married, and they'll be gay. And we'll do this together. We actually talked about that.
BOIES: That second part I don't remember.
More than forty-five minutes later, Borger aired the second part of
her report, but instead of interviewing Olson and Boies's opponents in
the lawsuit, she decided to continue her beyond sympathetic profile of
the anti-Proposition 8 lawyers, focusing on how the two are "now
friends- really good friends" and how the two discuss their tastes in
movies and wine:
BORGER (voice-over): It was the historic case that decided the presidency and divided the nation. Olson and Boies were the ones on the steps of the Supreme Court battling it out. That was then. This is now. On the streets of New York, they're talking anything but the law.
OLSON: It's called 'Crazy Heart.'
BOIES: Oh, I know.
OLSON: Jeff Bridges.
BOIES: I know. I know. I haven't seen that.
OLSON: Have you seen it?
BOIES: I haven't seen that. I want to see that, though, and 'Avatar.'
BORGER: They've come a long way....The adversaries are now friends- really good friends, and when we asked to meet with them, they suggested a personal spot: David Boies's apartment in New York City.
BORGER (on-camera): If anybody had said to me nine years ago that I would about to be interviewing the two men- who fought each other tooth and nail in Bush versus Gore- on the same side of a constitutional fight, I would have said, are you crazy?...
BORGER (voice-over): Politics aside, their wives joke that they're like an old married couple. They go biking together, and both enjoy the finer things.
BORGER (on-camera): But what do you like about each other?
BOIES: Oh, where shall we start? Shall we start with the wine or the bike trips?
BORGER: Yeah, let's start with the wine.
OLSON: Start with the wine-
BORGER: So after a long day, a glass of-
BOIES: A glass, definitely.
BOIES: Chardonnay- exactly.
CNN, who earlier this year, touted itself as the only "non-partisan" cable news
network, has all but made it clear that it is out to promote
same-sex "marriage." On June 9, correspondent Soledad O'Brien previewed her upcoming one-sided documentary, "Gary
and Tony Have A Baby," for the left-wing Gay and Lesbian Alliance
Against Defamation. O'Brien also filed a sympathetic report about a lesbian teenager
in Mississippi on Tuesday.
After Borger's report, Holmes himself promoted his colleague's documentary: "And also, reminder to our viewers, coming up here on CNN, just a few days, the concept of family can mean one thing to you, can mean something else to another. And our Soledad O'Brien, following a same-sex couple in their struggle against the legal and personal obstacles to becoming parents. Can these men achieve a life as mainstream as their parents? Watch 'Gary and Tony Have a Baby.'"
-Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.