Ignoring contrary evidence, CNN's King said of Bush's African AIDS program: "Any liberal will tell you it has been a dramatic success"January 15, 2009 10:22 PM EST ››› DIANNA PARKER
In an analysis of President Bush's farewell speech on the January 15 edition of CNN's Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull, chief national correspondent John King said of Bush's program to fight AIDS in Africa, "Any liberal will tell you it has been a dramatic success." However, progressives and health organizations have, in fact, been critical of the legislation that authorized the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which required that starting in fiscal year 2006, 33 percent of funds for AIDS prevention be spent on abstinence-until-marriage education -- a provision the Bush administration reportedly lobbied Congress to add.
As Media Matters for America has documented, according to many of the government officials responsible for managing PEPFAR abroad, as well as the Institute of Medicine, the Government Accountability Office, and the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), the abstinence-until-marriage education requirement hindered PEPFAR's effectiveness in preventing the spread of AIDS. Congress removed the requirement when it reauthorized PEPFAR in 2008.
In a November 2006 report titled "Bush's AIDS Initiative: Too Little Choice, Too Much Ideology," the CPI stated that PEPFAR "has enabled his administration to funnel tens of millions of dollars to Christian faith-based organizations that support his ideology and form his political base." The report quoted Dr. Paul Zeitz, executive director of the Global AIDS Alliance, asserting that PEPFAR "is failing to stop the global spread of AIDS and failing to help lead the world to stop this deadly disease. ... We have a flawed framework with flawed policies that have kept us from being where we should be by now."
From the January 15 edition of CNN's Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull:
CAMPBELL BROWN (host): And John, of course, you covered this president for almost a decade. What was your reaction as he said goodbye tonight?
KING: That is George W. Bush, Campbell. You covered him as well. And he is a president who has become known to many Americans as almost a black-and-white figure. He said it himself: Good and evil is how he casts things. Some people don't like that. He was the president who said, "Dead or alive." He was the president who said, "Bring it on."
People have often seen him in the biggest battles of the presidency as a black-and-white, with-me-or-against-me kind of guy, but he's a lot more complicated than that. And, yes, you know, the economic collapse, Katrina, Iraq are stains on his legacy at the moment. He thinks history will judge him more kindly, but without a doubt, he leaves with those stains on his legacy.
But he also mentioned the program to fight AIDS in Africa. Any liberal will tell you it has been a dramatic success. He believes he has made a decent impact on public schools here in the United States. And he is a gentleman, to follow up on Wolf's point. Whatever you think of him politically, he is a gentleman. And his tribute to Barack Obama was genuine.