Editor of Time on Fawning Obama Coverage: Media Will Regret This

Editor at large of Time magazine Mark Halperin appeared on Tuesday's edition of "Morning Joe" and admitted "mistakes have been made" in regards to the media's coverage of Barack Obama and that "people will regret it." Analyzing the fawning press that the Democratic presidential candidate has received, he added, "If Obama wins and goes on to become a hugely successful president, I think, still, people will look back and say it just wasn't done the right way."

Joe Scarborough, host of "Morning Joe," prompted the brief discussion when he opened the MSNBC program by declaring, "But I got to say this, the media, the media has been really, really biased this campaign, I think." He then asked Halperin if journalists are "just in love with history?" Halperin candidly responded, "History and the story is just- it's great for us. It's been great for us. He's a great story." He went on to make his "mistakes have been made" quip, prompting Scarborough to burst out laughing.

Scarborough then proceeded to vaguely describe the type of journalists who have gushed over Obama. Without naming names, or explaining if he was talking about a fellow MSNBC host, the former Republican congressman explained:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: But there's certain white guys...that just barely missed the party in the civil rights movement. They're the late '50s, early to mid '60s. They wish they had been there with Brokaw, holding a, you know, being in Selma and all these other places. But they weren't. So, they seem to be the ones that are completely in the tank because they want to be a part of the history this time. They want- They want to help elect an African American president and they can put that on their, you know, bedpost.

A transcript of the exchange, which occurred at 6:01am on October 28, 2008, follows:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: But I got to say this, the media, the media has been really, really biased this campaign, I think. But it's not been a Republican/Democratic bias. It's 6:01 and I'm jumping right in. But, actually, I'm starting to have this conversation with other members of the media, who say, you know what? We may be- This may end up like 2002, 2003, where we weren't as tough as we should have been. Some hand wringing. But this- Hillary Clinton's campaign also complained that there was a lot of bias shown against her. Is the media just in love with history here, Mark, do you think?

MARK HALPERIN (Editor at large, Time) : History and the story is just- it's great for us. It's been great for us. He's a great story. But I think, I think mistakes have been made and people- and people will regret it. [Joe laughs] You know, we talk- They will-

SCARBOROUGH: They will regret it. Because the media, it always blows up in the media's face.

HALPERIN: Even if he goes- If Obama wins and goes on to become a hugely successful president, I think, still, people will look back and say it just wasn't done the right way.

SCARBOROUGH: You know, in 2000, I actually was complaining that George W. Bush, even though I was for George W. Bush, as a Republican congressman at the time, I said to friends, why is the press giving Bush a free press on all of this stuff, but hammering Al Gore? It is usually- The bias is usually against Republicans, but sometimes it's against, like, an Al Gore in 2000 or a Hillary Clinton in 2008, 'cause Hillary, too, was running against history.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I just don't think it was black and white and there was some insidious bias. I think there was a real vexing issue of an incredible story versus a guy who's been around for a long time and how to cover it, how much to cover it, how many pictures to show. I think it's vexing. I think it's very difficult.

SCARBOROUGH: I will tell, you, Willie, what is not vexing is the fact that there are certain white guys, I'm not going to name any names because we love them all, and they come this show and they give us good ratings. So, we love you all. But there's certain white guys- no, no, no older than Mr. Halperin and us, that just barely missed the party in the civil rights movement. They're the late '50s, early to mid '60s. They wish they had been there with Brokaw, holding a, you know, being in Selma and all these other places. But they weren't. So, they seem to be the ones that are completely in the tank because they want to be a part of the history this time. They want- They want to help elect an African American president and they can put that on their, you know, bedpost.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org