Posts Tagged ‘Louisiana Purchase’

Carlson: Senator Landrieu “Bribed”

November 23, 2009

This morning Fox & Friends co-anchor Gretchen Carlson made an incredibly inflammatory accusation against Senator Landrieu of Louisiana: Bribery. Yes, you read right. Bribery!

Carlson asserted, “There is a lot of bribing going on, specifically, in the state of Louisiana for Senator Mary Landrieu.” She explained, “Why? Because, apparently, [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid was able to get her $300 million to help fix up stuff from Hurricane Katrina. And, that is what bought her the vote, or, bought him, the vote. By giving her $300 million of pork, she then decided to vote for health care reform for his bill.” Carlson continued, “And a lot of people this morning are saying, ‘Yeah, we know these kind of political things happen all the time on Capitol Hill.’ But, for health care reform, something that’s this serious to this country, should we allowing these kind of bribes for votes?”*

Even with that caveat, from this Louisiana author’s perspective, Carlson’s rhetoric bordered on the reckless. When one uses the term bribery in the same breath as a public official, the listener often envisions its primary dictionary denotation. E.g., the first definition in Webster’s Third International Dictionary is “A price, reward, gift, or favor bestowed or promised with a view to pervert the judgment or corrupt the conduct esp. of a person in a position of trust (as a public official). In that context, “bribery” is a serious offense and a federal crime.

While “bribery” has a secondary sense, a more benign definition, i.e., an inducement to grant a favor, it does not resound as resonantly in the listener’s ear. Obviously, any Senator or Representative would be “guilty” of this “crime.” As any politico worth his/her salt knows, such wheeling and dealing is de rigueur in the legislative process on both the state and federal level.

Landrieu’s “deal” has been derisively dubbed, perhaps, aptly, the Louisiana Purchase by opponents of the Democratic bill. However, to go one step further and use the incendiary term “bribery” seems clearly over the line. Especially, for one employed by the “Fair and Balanced” news network.

*Fox & Friends (11/23/09) – @8:02 a.m. ET