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Jewish World Review Sept. 12, 2002 / 6 Tishrei, 5763

Laura Ingraham

Laura Ingraham
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Consumer Reports

The Today Show v. guns | For those of you who missed our shows last Thursday and Friday, you missed hearing my outrage over the interview conducted by NBC's Matt Lauer last Thursday with screen legend and probable Alzheimer's sufferer Charlton Heston. While Lauer acknowledged Heston's formidable screen and stage career in the interview, he devoted most of the second day to grilling Mr. Heston on his NRA activities and political advocacy on behalf of gun rights. Lauer's rather soft tone notwithstanding, his objective was clear: he hoped to get Mr. Heston to "do an Atwater." (Near his death from cancer, the former RNC firebrand recanted some of his campaign tactics as mean-spirited.)

Lauer and his co-host Katie Couric owe part of their immense popularity to the apple pie image they sell to the American public. But in reality they, like most of their liberal, cynical counterparts in the mainstream media, are completely out of touch with a huge segment of the country. Most Americans support gun rights, most Americans are troubled by abortion on demand, most Americans frown on political correctness gone wild, most Americans trust and like President Bush. Most Americans don't have bodyguards or a spread in the Hamptons.

Of course Charlton Heston didn't take the Lauer bait and was, as his always is, gracious and gentlemanly. Heston is one of the few remaining of a bygone era in Hollywood, when being "a star" meant something. Today people who read Teleprompters for a living are stars. When they interview other "stars" like Susan Sarandon and Woody Harrelson, they somehow never get around to challenging their left-wing views. Imagine this scenario: Barbra Streisand contracts a terrible disease, appears on the Today Show to raise awareness about the disease. Katie lights in: "Barbra, you have said some really harsh things about Republicans during your career. Any regrets?" It would never happen.

The following is a transcript of Lauer's biased questioning of Mr. Heston on guns. Be your own judge.

LAUER: What are you most proud of in [the political part] of your life?

Mr. HESTON: I suppose the leadership of the NRA.


Mr. HESTON: I believe in the right to keep and bear arms. Thomas Jefferson and all those smart old dead white guys that invented the country, that's what they were in favor of, and so I'll go with him.

LAUER: Have you ever gotten up one morning, read the newspaper or seen the news, about a particularly horrific crime or event that involved a shooting and thought, even for a second, 'I may be on the wrong side of this issue.'

Mr. HESTON: No, I never felt that.

LAUER: Never wavered?

Mr. HESTON: No. Again, I'm on the side of the--the men who invented the country. They believed in the Second Amendment, and I believe in it, too.

LAUER: Let me read, probably, your most famous quote as the head of the NRA, standing in front of the convention one year.

Mr. HESTON: Oh, yes.

LAUER: And if you--well, I'll start it, you finish it. How about that? "As we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those words again for everyone within the sound of..."

Mr. HESTON: (From NRA convention) voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore. From my cold, dead hands!" From my cold dead hands.

LAUER: Received an enormous reaction.

Mr. HESTON: Yes, it did. It did.

LAUER: Still feel that way?

Mr. HESTON: Yes, I do. Yes, I'm--I'm very proud of the fact that I've been able to be useful to the NRA.

LAUER: You have guns in your home.

Mr. HESTON: Mm-hmm.

LAUER: Is there a concern that if you become of diminished mental capacity that that could be a problem?

Mr. HESTON: If it becomes a problem, then it has to be dealt with, doesn't it? But I don't think it will be.

LAUER: Let me read you what you said about Bill Clinton.

Mr. HESTON: Mm-hmm.

LAUER: "Mr. Clinton, sir, America doesn't trust you..."

Mr. HESTON: (From NRA pulpit) ...with our health-care system. America didn't trust you with gays in the military, America doesn't trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, L-rd, don't trust you with our guns.

I'm proud of having said it. I'm also...

LAUER: Speaking about a president of the United States here.

Mr. HESTON: I also was pleased to hear that afterwards he said to his followers, after the last election when Mr. Gore was defeated, to his credit, he said, 'It was the NRA and Chuck Heston that did it.'

LAUER: And you're proud of that?

Mr. HESTON: I am.

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JWR contributor Laura Ingraham is the host of a radio show syndicated nationally by Westwood One Radio Network. Comment by clicking here.

08/27/02: Bush not attending the UN-sponsored "bash Amerika" conference!?
08/20/02: The NEA: Let the anti-American indoctrination begin!
08/13/02: Bubba's revenge
08/07/02: Bilingual bust continues its drag on our schools
07/30/02: Dems love for big lawyers=big opportunity
07/23/02: No time for vacation
07/16/02: Is Homeland Security all wet?
06/25/02: The firing season has arrived
06/18/02: Picking the next chief
06/11/02: Intelligence coup, with much more to do
06/07/02: The Bush administration's foul ball
05/30/02: Post-feminism in the aftermath of 9-11
05/23/02: The press gunning for Ashcroft
05/19/02: El Jefe basks in Carter's Light
05/15/02: Former presidents who don't understand the word "former"
05/07/02: Ozzy deified, many mortified, drugs glorified?
05/01/02: Bush: "California here I come ... sort of"
04/27/02: The good news about conservatives versus Bush
04/17/02: While the cat's away....
04/09/02: Preview of 2004: See how Dick runs!
01/29/02: A kinder, gentler human-rights violator?
11/27/01: Military tribunals provide streamlined justice
09/07/01: Scariest animal wears pants
08/17/01: Depressed after seeing uncut version of Apocalypse Now --- and for good reason
07/20/01: The other, maybe more important, news
06/22/01: Washington's pro-Bono worship is unnerving
06/01/01: Burying conservatism
05/17/01: Ashcroft's abuse of power

© 2002, Laura Ingraham