Did MSNBC Leak Noonan/Murphy ‘Political BS’ Exchange on Palin?

Less than two hours after Peggy Noonan and former McCain advisor Mike Murphy appeared on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon, a YouTube video appeared of their candid exchange in which they dismissed Sarah Palin’s viability as a VP pick. The speed at which the video appeared indicated that it almost certainly originated from someone inside MSNBC, another favor for the Democrats this election year.

Joshua Micah Marshall’s blog Talking Points Memo and the blog of Michael Calderone of the Politico broke news of Noonan and Murphy’s comments. The exchange started as MSNBC Chuck Todd previewed what was coming up next on the program before a commercial break 20 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour, as Noonan and Murphy began a discussion off-camera, picked up by a hot mike. Todd then joined the discussion once the commercial break began. None of their discussion actually made it on the air for this reason.

During their exchange, which is reminiscent of Jesse Jackson being caught by a hot mike making a vulgar comment about Barack Obama, a live mike picked up Noonan stating that "it’s over" for Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Later, Todd posed the following question to Noonan:

CHUCK TODD: I mean is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?

PEGGY NOONAN: The most qualified? No! I think they went for this -- excuse me-- political bullsh** about narratives and [unintelligible] the picture --

TODD: Yeah, they went to a narrative.

MIKE MURPHY: I totally agree.

NOONAN: Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at, they blow it.

MURPHY: You know what's really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical.

TODD: This is cynical, and as you called it, gimmicky.

MURPHY: Yeah.

HotAir.com’s blogger Allahpundit, at the beginning of his post on the exchange, wondered "how this little interstitial made its way from MSNBC to TPM [Talking Points Memo, Marshall’s blog]." However, Marshall’s background should be noted in this regard. Marshall worked for the liberal magazine The American Prospect from 1997 until 2001. He started TPM during the 2000 recount debacle between Al Gore and George W. Bush. He used his blog to publicize Mississippi Senator Trent Lott’s praise of Strom Thurmond in 2002, which resulted in a controversy which eventually forced Lott to step down as Senate Minority Leader. Earlier this year, Marshall won the George Polk Award from Long Island University, in the category of Legal Reporting, for his blogs about "the politically motivated dismissals of United States attorneys across the country. Noting a similarity between firings in Arkansas and California, Marshall and his staff (with his staff reporter-bloggers Paul Kiel and Justin Rood) connected the dots and found a pattern of federal prosecutors being forced from office for failing to do the Bush Administration's bidding."

The video’s posting on YouTube seems to have been expedited, since both Marshall and Calderone blogged about it within two hours of Noonan and Murphy’s appearance. Since there are no on-screen graphics during Todd’s preview, which occur in the regular cable feed of MSNBC, someone must have provided to Marshall and Calderone the raw feed. Due to this expedited nature, it indicates that someone at MSNBC leaked the exchange so it could be posted on YouTube and so it could be commented upon by bloggers and talking heads.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center