McClellan Promised Look at How Media Hostility to Bush 'Rooted in a Liberal Bias'

FNC's Brit Hume highlighted Monday night how Scott McClellan's original book proposal, posted Saturday by the Politico, “promised to be quote 'supportive of the President' and take a penetrating look at how the liberal media slant their coverage of him.” Interviewing McClellan on Sunday's Meet the Press, Tim Russert highlighted the proposal and declared: “That's not the book you wrote.” (Matt Sheffield's Monday post on the Politco's discovery, “McClellan Originally Wanted to Attack Media, Defend Bush.”)

In his “Grapevine” item, Hume relayed how “McClellan writes that while many recent books have portrayed President Bush in a negative light, he would take a different approach, quote: 'I will directly address myths that have been associated with him, some deliberately perpetuated by activist liberals and some created by the media'” and:

I will look at what is behind the media hostility toward the President and his administration, and how much of it is rooted in a liberal bias.

On Meet the Press, Russert read from the proposal:

There have been a number of books written about President Bush, including many more recent ones that portray him in a very negative light. This book's going to take a much different look at our Nation's 43rd President. It will be an insider's account of his behind-the-scenes persona, including his decision-making style, his personal discipline, his composure under fire, his sense of humor. And, I will directly address myths that have been associated with him, some deliberately perpetuated by activist liberals and some created by the media, and look at the reality behind those myths.

Russert then concluded: “That's not the book you wrote.”

Indeed not.

FNC's Bill O'Reilly confronted McClellan Monday night with the far-left agenda of McClellan's publisher, Peter Osnos of PublicAffairs books:

BILL O'REILLY: Your publisher is closely tied with George Soros. George Soros is a radical leftist.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Let me also mention that they published the Case for Democracy. You know who has touted that book more than anybody else -- by Natan Sharansky? President Bush.

O'REILLY: We've investigated. It's about 8 to 1 liberal to conservative books that your publisher does.
My May 29 NewsBusters post, “McClellan's Publisher a Liberal: Advances Soros & Slams Limbaugh,” recounted:
Peter Osnos, who wrote Wednesday that he "worked very closely" with Scott McClellan on McClellan's new book published by PublicAffairs which Osnos founded, is a liberal whose publishing house is affiliated with the far-left The Nation magazine and the publisher of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. PublicAffairs has a roster of authors who are nearly all liberals and/or liberal-leaning mainstream media figures, including six books by far-left bank-roller George Soros. On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Ari Fleischer related that "Scott told me that his editor did 'tweak,' in Scott's word, a lot of the writing, especially in the last few months." In an "Eat the Press" blog entry Wednesday, Rachel Sklar asked Osnos: "Did you work directly on the book with McClellan? (Who was his editor?)" Osnos replied: "The editor was Lisa Kaufman and yes, I worked very closely with them." Sklar's post: www.huffingtonpost.com

A reporter and editor at the Washington Post during the 1970s and 1980s before going into book publishing, Osnos pens a weekly column for the left of center The Century Foundation. In a March column he denounced Rush Limbaugh as "bombastic, aggressive, and mean," bemoaning how the late William F. Buckley Jr. left behind "a right-wing culture that tends to be as coarse and leaden as his demeanor could be buoyant," charging Buckley provided "unfortunate cover to others who followed with a spirit that was distinctly and consistently malevolent."

In contrast, he hailed the late left-wing columnist Molly Ivins and wished she had more impact: "In the contest for power in America, Molly Ivins had a good perch in her column, nearly perfect pitch, and, alas, too little influence." Ruminating this week about the Kennedy family's legacy in the wake of Senator Ted Kennedy's cancer diagnosis, Osnos asserted that "we are a distinctly better country for the message" which "Ted conveyed about our priorities as a people."...
Hume's June 2 Grapevine report:
The original book proposal by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan promised to be quote "supportive of the President" and take a penetrating look at how the liberal media slant their coverage of him. The proposal is printed in The Politico newspaper. McClellan writes that while many recent books have portrayed President Bush in a negative light, he would take a different approach, quote: "I will directly address myths that have been associated with him, some deliberately perpetuated by activist liberals and some created by the media.

"I will look at what is behind the media hostility toward the President and his administration, and how much of it is rooted in a liberal bias."
How Tim Russert confronted McClellan on the change in approach to Bush, on the June 1 Meet the Press:
RUSSERT: I think what people are groping for is when did you undergo this transformation, this intellectual journey, this evolution? Ari Fleischer, your former boss, the man who you replaced at the White House, said this: "Scott told me that this book really did change. And he said this book ended up a lot different from the way it got started. He told me he didn't know if he could write a book like this a year ago."

And we refer you to your book proposal, which was sent around in January of '07: "The Unvarnished Truth About George W. Bush: His Former Spokesman Talks Candidly About the President, the Press, Washington Politics, and his White House Days,” by Scott McClellan. “There have been a number of books written about President Bush, including many more recent ones that portray him in a very negative light.

"This book's going to take a much different look at our Nation's 43rd President. While being supportive of the President, I want to give readers a candid look into who George W. Bush is, what he believes, why he believes it so strongly, what drives him.

"It will be an insider's account of his behind-the-scenes persona, including his decision-making style, his personal discipline, his composure under fire, his sense of humor.

"And, I will directly address myths that have been associated with him, some deliberately perpetuated by activist liberals and some created by the media, and look at the reality behind those myths."

That's not the book you wrote.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center