Grad student appears as panelist on Alan Keyes' MSNBC show

Posted: Friday, February 08, 2002

Aaron Clemens, a graduate of Juneau-Douglas High School, appeared Jan. 31 as a panelist on the Alan Keyes show on MSNBC television.

Clemens, 23, is a first year law student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He is the son of Michael Clemens, administrative services manager with the state Department of Public Safety, and Kathryn Clemens, a housewife and doting grandmother. He has two older siblings, a brother, Jonathan, who lives in Washington state, and a married sister, Rachel Wilson, who lives in Juneau.

Keyes' show is titled "Alan Keyes is Making Sense." It broadcasts at 9 to 10 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday, and considers topics such as the Declaration of Independence, tax reform, American marriage and immigration. The episode on which Clemens appeared focused on the topic "California's referendum on homosexual education."

The show includes a segment of panelists called "People like you." When Clemens appeared, there were two other panelists, a legal secretary and a government consultant. The panelists are allowed only about 10 minutes total to speak, because of the format of the show, which also includes an introduction by a journalist and takes phone calls and queries by e-mail.

"Essentially Keyes holds that if schools teach positive things about homosexuals then that violates the first amendment freedom of religion of people like Keyes who disapproves of the homosexual lifestyle," Clemens said.

Clemens was chosen after he e-mailed the show upon reading that it was looking for people in the District of Columbia area. The studio is just a three-minute walk from where he lives on the Law Center campus.

Keyes has run for President and visited Juneau. Clemens found him "an extremely intelligent and kind-hearted man....He created this show in the belief that intelligent discourse is what America needs and deserves which is a worthy goal. There is too much non-cerebral television out there to criticize a show just because it doesn't parrot the view I have."

Clemens said he was nervous at first about appearing, but gained confidence as the hour-long show progressed. "Keyes spoke with us before the show started so that we could feel warm speaking with him, and it really worked for me," he said in an e-mail interview.

Clemens describes himself as an "amateur journalist, news editor of the Law Weekly at Georgetown." He has been interviewed on local and cable television before in Las Vegas, but this was his first appearance on national television.

Raised in Juneau, Clemens said he is leaning toward a career as a public defender, "especially after taking criminal justice from the illustrious Sam Dash, who not only did Watergate and helped out on Clinton's impeachment, but who ran the impeachment inquiry into (Alaska Gov.) Sheffield back in the mid 1980s."

If any Juneau law firms are looking for a legal intern with television experience, he's interested, he added.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at

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