MSNBC's David Shuster Slams Palin as 'Clearly Unqualified' [Transcript included]

During a contentious interview with filmmaker John Ziegler on Friday's "MSNBC News Live," host David Shuster attacked former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as "clearly unqualified" and asserted that the Alaska governor "wasn't prepared to run for vice president." An incredulous Ziegler, who was appearing to promote his new documentary on the liberal media's role in the election of Barack Obama, quickly retorted, "So, is that your opinion, David? Is that your opinion, David, as an alleged news person?"

Shuster caught himself as he seemed on the verge of suggesting everyone believed Palin to be unqualified: "John, it's every- John, it's the opinion of 65 percent of the American people." As Noel Sheppard noted in a previous blog, Ziegler also derided Shuster as a "joke" and publicly called out MSNBC as "clearly the pet network of Barack Obama." At one point, when the bias got too much for the filmmaker, he quipped "I feel like this is O.J. Simpson interviewing the cops about the murders. I'm the cop and you're O.J. Simpson here."

Towards the end of the segment, Ziegler hit the cable network yet again. On the issue of Palin coverage, he derided, "But, you've clearly seeing this through the prejudiced eye of MSNBC which has had an agenda since the beginning of this campaign, pro-Obama against Palin." "You're a joke," the "Media Malpractice" director added one last time.

A transcript of the January 9 segment, which aired at 11:48am, follows:

DAVID SHUSTER: Call it Palin unplugged. The Alaska governor is ripping into the media in a new conservative documentary. She said the accusations about her during the campaign were downright scary.

SARAH PALIN: So, you know, I have the same question that perhaps you do, and others who would participate in this documentary even, trying to figure out, is it political? Is it sexism? What is it that drives someone to believe the worst and to perpetuate the worst in terms of gossip, lies?

SHUSTER: Well, that's not the only thing that got Palin upset. Just last night, her office released a statement, accusing the media of unfair treatment once again. She says her comments in this new film are being taken out of context. John Ziegler is the filmmaker who interviewed Sarah Palin. And, John, Palin says your decision to post excerpts on YouTube led to misleading reports. Your take?

JOHN ZIEGLER (filmmaker): I'm sorry that she feels that way. I don't believe that's the case. I think that what is currently posted on YouTube is fully in context and makes the governor- puts the governor in her exactly accurate light. I don't think there's any remotely accurate accusation that anything was taken out of condition text here. And I think that will be very clear when we make the entire interview available, which will happen when we release the film "Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and How Palin Was Smeared" in late February.

SHUSTER: Let's get to some of those clips. The Katie Couric interview, in many ways, started her decline in support. In your documentary, she watches as the ladies of "The View" react to the Couric interview. Let's take a listen.

[Documentary clip]

KATIE COURIC: Even in the post-election interviews, Dave, that she's done, nobody's really asked her, why didn't you answer that question?

PALIN: Because, Katie, you're not the center of everyone's universe. Maybe that's why they didn't think to ask that question with so many other things to be asked.

[Clip ends]

SHUSTER: Of course, that was a question about whether she read. You have been quoted as saying that Palin was assassinated by the media.

ZIEGLER: Well, I think that is accurate. Although, I think if anything been taken out of context, you just took that clip out of context.

SHUSTER: Wait a second, you think it's accurate to use the word- Wait a second. Wait a second. You think it's accurate to use the word assassinate in what the- Regardless of the heavy criticism, doesn't it diminish real assassinations when you throw up the word assassinate because Sarah Palin didn't like some of the questions she got in an interview?

ZIEGLER: No, I believe that her character was assassinated, David, and I think this network played an enormous role in the process and you just took the clip of Katie Couric answer- the Katie Couric answer out of context which, is rather ironic since you just read the statement from Governor Palin about being concerned about this interview being taken out of context. But MSNBC is clearly the pet network of Barack Obama and I understand that.

SHUSTER: But, John, even in your documentary she still can't answer- Well, John, even in your documentary, at least the clips that you've released, she still can't answer, at least it takes her several opportunities, she still really can't explain what she reads. I mean isn't it- does Sarah Palin take responsibility?

ZIEGLER: David, you didn't-- that's ridiculous! You didn't watch the clip apparently. She clearly states what it is that she reads!

SHUSTER: I did watch the clip! She talked about news articles that are widely circulated in Alaska.

ZIEGLER: You're a joke!

SHUSTER: John-

ZIEGLER: You are a joke! You- Did you not watch the clip? Did you not watch the clip?

SHUSTER: The joke is the fact that you and Sarah Palin, you and Sarah Palin, can't take can't take any responsibility-

ZIEGLER: This is clearly an agenda by MSNBC, which you started a year ago.

SHUSTER: -John, you and Sarah Palin can't take any responsibility for the fact that she wasn't prepared to run for vice president. Does she ever acknowledge in any of your interviews that maybe she has some of the responsibility for things not working out?

ZIEGLER: Oh- Really? So, is that your opinion, David? Is that your opinion, David, as an alleged news person?

SHUSTER: No, I'm asking you. I'm asking you-

ZIEGLER: As an alleged news person is that she was unprepared to be vice president of the United States?

SHUSTER: Sarah Palin hasn't granted us a news interview. So, I'm asking you. I'm asking you --

ZIEGLER: Is that your opinion that she was unprepared to be vice president of the United States? Gee, that sounds very objective, David.

SHUSTER: John, it's every - John, it's the opinion of 65 percent of the American people.

ZIEGLER: It's everybody's opinion? Oh, now it's not just your opinion it's everybody's opinion? Give me more.

SHUSTER: Well, it's everybody's opinion who's had an opportunity to interview her, except for you. And my question is, when you interviewed her did she ever express any responsibility for her own shortcomings? Any?

ZIEGLER: I feel like this is O.J. Simpson interviewing the cops about the murders. I'm the cop and you're O.J. Simpson here.

SHUSTER: No, it's a yes or no answer. Did she express any responsibility for her own shortcomings?

ZIEGLER: Yes! Yes! She did!

SHUSTER: Okay and what did she say?

ZIEGLER: And if you watched the YouTube clip that we released, you would have already realized that. But, you've clearly seeing this through the prejudiced eye of MSNBC which has had an agenda since the beginning of this campaign, pro-Obama against Palin. It continues to this day. You're a joke.

SHUSTER: As opposed to the agenda for people like you to boost Sarah Palin who is clearly unqualified. Most Americans, 65 percent, say she's clearly unqualified.

ZIEGLER: Oh, she's clearly unqualified? Oh, I see.

SHUSTER: And yet you and your colleagues are trying to circle back and get her ready for 2012. Well, I hope it's successful, because we all love Sarah Palin.

ZIEGLER: Oh, I see. I'm going to be part of her campaign in 2012. All I care about is-

SHUSTER: Well, based on the clips, you've already started. In any case, John Ziegler -

ZIEGLER: I see. Clearly no agenda on your part. Clearly no agenda. Have fun. Congratulations on the election, David. Good job.

SHUSTER: Right. And no agenda on yours whatsoever. But, John, you know what? I love arguing with you. And you're always welcome to come back.

ZIEGLER: Thank you, David.

SHUSTER: All right, john Ziegler has an interesting documentary whether you like it or not.

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