Is there a secret plan to scare presidential voters?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Commentary by Gary Palmer

It is one thing for Dan Rather and CBS News to pass on false information to the few viewers they have left, but it is going a bit too far when college professors are doing it to their students.

But that is exactly what is now happening on college campuses nationwide, including at the University of Alabama.

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Liberal college professors have forwarded a dubious email to their students and urged them to pass it on to friends and relatives.

According to the email there will be a “Mandatory draft for boys and girls (ages 18-26) startingJune 15, 2005.” The email also warns students that, “In addition, college will no longer be an option for avoiding the draft and they will be signing an agreement with Canada which will no longer permit anyone attempting to dodge the draft to stay within it’s (sic) borders.”

According to the email, “The administration is quietly trying to get these bills passed now, while the public’s attention is on the elections.”

In other words, the liberals are trying to scare college students and their parents into believing that the Bush Administration has a secret plan to reinstate the draft.

The problem with that is that it is not true.

The Bush Administration has stated publicly that they are opposed to a mandatory draft and Bush’s opposition to the draft is clearly stated on his campaign Web site at

What is even more absurd about this story is that the bills mentioned in the email were both introduced by Democrats.

The House bill was introduced by Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.), one of the most liberal members in Congress, and the Senate version by Sen. Fritz Hollings (S.C.) who is not running for reelection.

Almost anyone with even the least bit of common sense would have been suspicious that the email was a hoax based on how it was written.

And anyone that cared about their credibility would have gone to the trouble to thoroughly check it out before they sent it.

Anyone, that is, but liberal agenda-driven professors such as the UA professor who instructed his students, “No matter what your views are on the material (and thou shalt not proselytize here; keep it to yourself), please give it serious consideration.”

Frankly, this is a not-too-subtle attempt to influence the votes of these students, their parents and their relatives. Apparently the UA professor thinks his students are too stupid to figure out that there is a political agenda behind the email which makes his “…thou shalt not proselytize here; keep it to yourself” more than a little disingenuous.

The same can be said of Dan Rather and CBS Newswho also pushed this story.

As most everyone knows by now, Rather and CBS Newsrecently got caught red handed using forged documents as the basis for a story disparaging President Bush’s service in the Air National Guard.

Now, less than three weeks after that fiasco, it appears that Rather and CBS Newsare trying to give credibility to another fictious story.

In their September 28th broadcast, CBS Newsattempted to give the hoax some credibility by airing a special report that included an interview with aPhiladelphia mother of two boys who said she is worried that the rumors might be true. Richard Schlesinger, the CBS Newsreporter, interviewed Beverly Cocco, whom Schlesinger tried to pass off as just an average American mom.

As it turns out, Beverly Cocco is not exactly the mother-next-door type, she is an activist who is president of a local chapter of People Against the Draft (PAD.) In fairness to CBS, they do have the Web address of PAD,, included in the text of the interview with Ms. Cocco on their Web site.

But far more people watch CBS Newsthan go to their Web site and yet CBS Newsmade no mention of Ms. Cocco’s political activism.

In addition, they also undoubtedly knew that the PAD Web site has links to radical leftists groups including the groups International Act A.N.S.W.E.R (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) and NOIN (Not In My Name.)

A.N.S.W.E.R was formed by the International Action Coalition, an organization that is closely allied with the World Workers Party, a Communist organization. And NOIN was started by Clark Kissinger of Refuse and Resist, an organization affiliated with the Revolutionary Communist Party USA.

You would think that CBS News would consider this information about Ms. Cocco and her organization to be relevant to the story in terms of helping people put her comments in perspective so that their report would be fair and balanced.

But then that would have undermined the real purpose of the email hoax-to scare voters, particularly college students and their parents.

Gary Palmer is president of the Alabama Policy Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to the preservation of free markets, limited government and strong families, which are indispensable to a prosperous society.