Cameron, Barnes promote myths on Kagan, military recruiting


On Fox News' Special Report, Carl Cameron and Fred Barnes promoted the myths that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan "bann[ed]" military recruiting at Harvard Law School, and that Kagan's opposition to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy contradicts her being "tremendously supportive of the military."

MYTH: Kagan "oppos[ed]," "bann[ed]" military recruitment at Harvard Law

Cameron said Kagan "oppos[ed] military recruitment at Harvard University." In a report on the June 29 edition of Special Report, Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron said that Kagan "got grilled" by Republican senators for "opposing military recruitment at Harvard University when she was dean of the law school."

Barnes: Kagan "bann[ed]" recruiting. In the "All-Star Panel" segment of the show, Fred Barnes said that Kagan "only got in trouble once," when "she tried to make the point that she was tremendously supportive of the military and recruiting at Harvard Law School while at the same time banning it." Barnes added that Sen. Jeff Sessions "was right" when he called that stance, in Barnes' words, "unconnected to reality."

REALITY: Students had access to military recruiters throughout Kagan's tenure

FACT: Recruiters were never barred from access to Harvard Law students. Cameron aired video of Kagan saying, "Military recruiters had access to Harvard students every single day I was dean," and noted that Kagan "said the episode was only six months during her six years as Harvard Law dean." Indeed, as The New York Times reported, "even when [Kagan] ... briefly barred the military from using the law school's main recruitment office, she continued a policy of allowing the military recruiters access to students." During that single 2005 semester, Kagan, citing the military's discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, revoked the military's exemption to Harvard's non-discrimination policy and reinstated the restrictions in force during the 1980s and 1990s against military recruitment through the school's Office of Career Services (OCS). During that time, recruiters still had access to students through the Harvard Law School Veterans Association. After the Bush administration threatened to revoke Harvard's federal funding under the Solomon Amendment, Kagan once again granted military recruiters access to OCS.

FACT: Harvard Law military recruitment was not diminished by Kagan's tenure. According to data obtained by Media Matters from Harvard Law School's public information officer, graduates entered the military during each year Kagan served as dean, including in 2005, the year in which recruiters lacked access to OCS for one semester. Moreover, the prohibition on Harvard Law's OCS working with military recruiters existed only during the spring 2005 semester, meaning that it could only have affected the classes of 2005, 2006, and 2007. However, the number of graduates from each of those classes who entered the military was equal to or greater than the number who entered the military from any of Harvard's previous five classes.

REALITY: Criticism of a military policy does not equal opposition to the military

FACT: Kagan's support of the military is well established. Contrary to Barnes' suggestion that Kagan's opposition to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" contradicts her statement that she is "tremendously supportive of the military," Media Matters has documented numerous examples of Kagan praising the military -- describing it as the "noblest of all professions" -- even while opposing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Further, military veterans at Harvard Law have affirmed Kagan's support for the military.

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