Krauthammer Consulted on Inaugural, Then Praised It

By: Dave Astor Liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America says columnist Charles Krauthammer praised President Bush's Jan. 20 inauguration speech on TV without disclosing his role consulting on the speech. Krauthammer's syndicate responded this morning.

When Krauthammer was among a group of people invited to the White House Jan. 10, "he did not get the sense that this was an exercise in speech preparation," Alan Shearer, editorial director/general manager of the Washington Post Writers Group, told E&P. "If he had, he would very likely have mentioned on television that he was present for these discussions. Hearing the inaugural address did nothing to change his impression. The speech was news to him, just as it was to all of us."

Among Krauthammer's Fox News comments praising Bush's inauguration remarks: "It was a revolutionary speech. ... To speak, essentially, about the abolition of tyranny, which has been a constant in human history for thousands of years, can only be spoken of as radical."

Two days later, on Jan. 22, The Washington Post reported: "The planning of Bush's second inaugural address began a few days after the Nov. 2 election with the president telling advisers he wanted a speech about 'freedom' and 'liberty.' That led to the broadly ambitious speech that has ignited a vigorous debate. The process included consultation with a number of outside experts. ... One meeting ... included military historian Victor Davis Hanson, columnist Charles Krauthammer, and Yale professor John Lewis Gaddis, according to one Republican close to the White House."

Shearer said Krauthammer -- who began the year with 143 newspaper clients -- was invited to the White House Jan. 10 along with a group of historians "for informal, off-the-record discussions on American Middle East policy. Charles was included in this group because he is one of the most knowledgeable people on the region, which he has been writing about for nearly 25 years. The discussions, with several below-Cabinet-level officials attending, centered on the United States' standing in the region and what needs to be done to help the peace process. Clearly, these officials were interested in divergent views."

Krauthammer didn't mention the inauguration speech in his Jan. 21 newspaper column. He writes weekly, so his next column is scheduled for Jan. 28.

Media Matters also cited Weekly Standard editor William Kristol as a consultant on Bush's speech who didn't disclose that information when praising it.


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