Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Missing the Real Story

In a recent Ian Bishop article, “Flighty Hill Changes Planes- Constantly,” he attacks Sen. Clinton’s propensity for finickiness in her flight arrangements. To hear Bishop tell it, Ms. Clinton has a propensity for discharging planes that don’t meet her rather stringent requirements; right layout, accommodations, crew, etc.

As interesting as the particular habits, however crazy they seem, of celebrities are, Bishop misses the REAL story. About half-way through, he notes that:

“[S]he [Sen. Clinton] used a Hawker 800 private jet owned by the New York investment firm Gilder Gagnon Howe for a morning flight to Greenville, S.C., from Washington, after an 8 a.m. address at a New York teachers' association gathering. . .Presidential campaigns can pay as much as $9,000 for a charter flight, but get a break when borrowing a corporate jet - like Clinton did with the Hawker 800. That's because ethics laws allow candidates to pay the aircraft's owner only the equivalent of first-class airfare.”

Let me preface my remarks by noting that I am QUITE sure that a great many, if not the majority, of the elected officials in Washington, of every political stripe, engage in behaviors that are inappropriate and tie them too closely to interests undeclared in their campaign finance declarations.

Bishop is concerned that Ms. Clinton has a penchant for getting things her own way.

I am concerned that “ethics rules” permit elected representatives to use luxury transport of persons and companies that potentially have business that either is or will be in front of that official or a committee over which they have oversight.

Bishop’s story ought to have been about the use of the Hawker 800, about the relationship between Gilder Gagnon Howe, if there is one, about the practice of using luxury aircraft of potential “big donors.” He ought to have answered meaningful questions about the scope and effect of the practice.

Instead, we know that Sen. Clinton has a quirkiness to her travel habits.

With journalism like this, it is no wonder our nation has no sense of the challenges it faces and cannot make reasonable decisions.


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