Jewish World Review Dec. 10, 2004 / 27 Kislev, 5765

Lloyd Grove

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Consumer Reports

Gonzales nomination Hustler freeze?; Oh, Really, O'Reilly; more


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Until he abruptly quit last month — around the time that President Bush nominated his stepfather, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, to be attorney general — Web designer Jared Freeze worked as a consultant for notorious pornographer Larry Flynt.


A knowledgeable source told Lowdown that the 20-something Freeze — a child from the previous marriage of Gonzales' wife, Rebecca — left Flynt's employ at the urging of Gonzales, who was said to be worried that the Hustler magazine connection might cause political damage during his confirmation hearings.


But Flynt disputed that version yesterday. "No," he told me through a rep. "He resigned after Alberto Gonzales was nominated, because he felt it would be prudent."


Aides in the White House press office didn't respond to half a dozen phone calls from Lowdown over the past two days.


Flynt — best known for such hard-core magazines as Hustler and Barely Legal, which have featured simulated gang rapes and other graphic material — told Lowdown through a spokeswoman: "Jared Freeze was a consultant with us. He worked in our Web site and broadcasting divisions."


Flynt added that Freeze's employment should have no bearing on Gonzales' confirmation. "There's no relationship," he argued.


Gonzales is extremely close to Bush, but some conservative groups have expressed skepticism about his anti-abortion bona fides.


When he was a Texas Supreme Court justice, he wasn't staunch enough, in the view of some conservatives, in upholding state laws requiring pregnant teenage girls to notify their parents before obtaining an abortion.


Yesterday, Jan LaRue, chief counsel of the conservative group Concerned Women for America, told me Freeze's employment with Flynt is "a legitimate issue" that should be raised next month before the Senate Judiciary Committee.


"The Justice Department is responsible for enforcing the obscenity and child pornography laws," LaRue said, "and Larry Flynt's publications include hard-core prosecutable material, in my opinion."


She added that she wants to know if Gonzales had urged his stepson to quit before he knew he was going to be nominated.


"If he didn't, that wouldn't be very helpful," she said.


Lowdown's attempts to reach Freeze yesterday were unsuccessful.

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THE BRIEFING


MAKE UP YOUR MIND, WILL YA?: Does Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly really believe that the Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman leads "an extremist group that finds offense in pretty much everything," as he claimed yesterday on his radio show? "These are the people who accused anybody of liking 'The Passion of the Christ' as anti-Semitic," O'Reilly added.


Or does O'Reilly believe the contrary arguments he made back in February, when he repeatedly cited Foxman in his defense of Mel Gibson's movie. "Now, Abraham Foxman, the head of the ADL, says the movie isn't anti-Semitic. And when he says it, you got — I think you got to believe it," he said on the Feb. 26 "O'Reilly Factor" — a representative statement provided to Lowdown by the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America. Fox News was a no-comment zone yesterday.


OCTOBER SURPRISE: That was President Bush in Iowa, back on Oct. 4, singing the praises of Des Moines youth pastor Michael Hintz at an event to tout his tax-cut plans. "It's a special day for Mike and Sharla (Hintz), not because they're with the president ... but because it's their 13th wedding anniversary," Bush crowed, adding that they've received $1,200 in tax relief. "Theirs is a typical story," he added.


Not all that typical. Yesterday, the Des Moines Register reported that the 35-year-old Hintz was charged with sexual exploitation for allegedly engaging in an "inappropriate relationship" with a 17-year-old girl in his youth group.




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© 2003, Creators Syndicate