Ups and Downs for the Week of April 17

This is a partial transcript from "The Beltway Boys," April 22, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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MORT KONDRACKE, CO-HOST: Let’s check out the week’s "Ups and Downs."

DOWN: Duke University. Forget innocent until proven guilty. Duke responded to mere allegations of rape by members of its lacrosse team by canceling the season, pushing out the coach and suspending the two students indicted in the case.

Now, let’s stipulate that these jocks were stupid to go hire a pair of strippers to perform for them and run a drunken party, which apparently there was.

But there is not a shred of evidence that a rape took place in this Duke lacrosse house. There’s no DNA evidence to indicate that. The two guys who got arrested seem to have alibis.

There were two 911 calls, neither which mentioned a rape at the get-go. One of the 911 callers told the police that the woman involved, the accuser, was dead drunk.

Now, what does Duke University do? It goes into a hysteria, into a panic. And it didn’t stand by its students when this terrible e-mail came out, which was kind of a reflection of -- what’s that terrible book -- "American Psycho." I mean, that’s where it was drawn from. They fired the coach and cancelled the season.

I mean, look, what’s happening here is you got a politically correct lynch mob atmosphere going. And Duke, instead of standing up for its students, or even playing neutral, has basically sided with the mob.

FRED BARNES, CO-HOST: I think the Duke officials should have taken into account the prosecutor who was pushing this case. He’s a guy running for re-election and was in a lot of political trouble. And they should have said, wait a minute, his motives are questionable.

Now, prosecutors have to take a couple things into account in a case. One thing, for sure, was there a crime committed?

And, secondly, are they going to win a conviction? Do they really feel they can win a conviction with negative DNA evidence and alibis, and things like that, and a very questionable victim, who I think will be torn to shreds by defense lawyers on the defense stand, if it gets to that, on the witness stand. I think the chance of a conviction is very poor.

Obviously, I mean, they offered a plea bargain to these two students who were charged. They said no. They wouldn’t take a plea bargain to a lesser charge. So without any of that stuff, I don’t expect any convictions at all. And Duke will only be embarrassed by that, actually.

All right. UP: China’s President Hu Jintao. Despite calls for his country to address human rights abuses, currency issues and the growing trade deficit with the U.S., President Hu gets the red carpet treatment Thursday at the White House, much to the dismay of his critics.

He got the red carpet treatment wherever he went. You know, he started out in the Pacific Northwest. He had dinner with Bill Gates. He visited the Boeing aircraft factory, ordered some planes. Came to Washington and got the red carpet treatment from the business community here. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce had a dinner for him.

And that’s the problem. I think President Bush would like to really get tough with China on human rights and China’s lack of help in Iran and North Korea, involving the development of nuclear weapons, but there is this relationship, this tight relationship between China and the American business community that I think doesn’t allow him to do it. The business community would climb all over Bush if he really got tough with China. And so it’s not going to happen.

KONDRACKE: Yes. You know, this is a vast new power in the world rising. The business community looks at it and sees one big gigantic market and just is in love.

But the fact is that Bush, in 2001, right after he took office, said that they were a strategy competitor of ours. And that was pretty correct.

And on all kinds of fronts, which you mentioned, the Chinese have not been responsible or cooperative at all. They steal intellectual property. They treat their own dissidents horribly. They have not been helpful on, as you say, North Korea and Iran. They’re a communist dictatorship.

And the question is what kind of a power are they going to be in the future? Are they going to be responsible or are they going to be imperialistic? That’s still up for grabs.

BARNES: Yes, and one more thing, these promises of cooperation by the Chinese leader?

KONDRACKE: So far empty.

BARNES: Yes, they mean nothing.

KONDRACKE: OK, DOWN: the Pulitzer Prize committee. Their liberal bias was on full display when it gave journalism’s highest award to reporters who criticized the Bush administration and exposed and, thus, undermined secret anti-terrorism efforts by the United States.

Now, let me say that I think that the Pulitzer committee did right by Nicholas Kristof, who has done wonderful work on Darfur and rescuing sex slaves in Southeast Asia. And they did well by giving a Pulitzer to New Orleans’ The Times-Picayune, to The Washington Post and to The San Diego Union-Tribune for the Duke Cunningham investigation.

But the media bias is just blatant. Here you get one case of classified information, the Valerie Plame case, where Bob Novak reported her name in a case where the administration was trying to defend itself, and leaked classified information. That’s a scandal.

But when people leak classified information to The New York Times and The Washington Post, which hurt the War on Terrorism, for that, you get a Pulitzer. And if there’s any other proof required, the cartoonist, who got the Pulitzer, is guy who’s militantly anti-Bush and militantly anti-war. That says it all.

BARNES: I agree with you, of course. And why do you think it is that the media thinks the Valerie Plame case, which has no national security implications, is more important, more news worthy, than the leak of this NSA eavesdropping system, which actually was a national security disaster for the administration that got leaked?

Why do they think that? Because on one of them, on the first one, they think can get a Karl Rove and President Bush. That’s the difference.

OK. UP: the movie "United 93," the first big studio project to deal directly with the events of September 11 hits the theaters next week. Despite those who say it’s too soon, the director, Paul Greengrass, got the blessings of the families of Flight 93 victims.


FIRST ACTOR: I need rules of engagement.

SECOND ACTOR: Do we shoot this flight down?

THIRD ACTOR: We have to do it now because we know what happens if we just sit here and do nothing.


BARNES: I don’t think it’s too early. They’re heroes in "United 93," who brought down the plane. I think I’m talking about the right one. That brought down the plane in Pennsylvania.

KONDRACKE: Yes, you are. Of course you are.

BARNES: And that’s a great story. Now, do I want to see a movie about the people caught in the top floors of the World Trade Center, who didn’t get out, who made these tragic phone calls and left voice mails for their spouses and so on? Or do I want to see stories about people who had to jump out of those top floors? Never.

KONDRACKE: Well, the good news here is that the hijackers are represented as the monsters that they are. And the passengers are represented as the heroes they are. Unlike Hollywood’s usual thing, like in "Syriana," where Americans are always the bad guys.

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