George Stephanopoulos Sneers at Palin’s Interview With O’Reilly: She Was in ‘Pretty Loving Hands’

Former Democratic aide turned Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday derided Sarah Palin’s debut as a Fox News analyst, asserting that the Republican "was in pretty loving hands there with Bill O'Reilly." The former Clinton operative, seriously asserted, "...I went through this transition, going from politics to being an analyst. It's very different going from being an advocate to someone who steps back and analyzes the news." [Audio available here.]

Stephanopoulos even proclaimed Palin’s political career over: "I gotta say, I don't think she’s going to come back into politics...I think this is the alternative to politics for Sarah Palin." Tina Brown, creator of the liberal Daily Beast website, appeared as part of a panel. She dismissed, "As a politician, she was often in error, but never in doubt, right? So, now, she can be a pundit, where it doesn't matter where you're in error, frankly."

In a previous segment, Jake Tapper made sure to highlight nasty, Democratic attacks comparing Palin to reality TV stars: "The Democratic National Committee sniped of her joining Fox News, ‘Not since Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag has there been a couple so well-suited for each other.’"

That piece also featured a clip from ABC News political director David Chalian. He, too, touted the idea that Palin doesn’t know much: "She still goes on the attack against Obama with sometimes inaccurate facts. Her Fox News analyst gig is not necessarily going to right that ship."

A transcript of the second segment, which aired at 8:13am EST, follows:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: There it is, the Morning Mix. We are launching a new segment this morning that we are all very excited about. We're going to debate the hot topics everyone is buzzing about this. This morning, the big shakeup in television. Also, those bankers in the hot seat over huge bonuses. Big congressional hearing. To tackle those controversies, we are joined by Tina Brown, editor of the Daily Beast. Also, Larry Hackett, managing editor of People magazine. And let's begin with television. Sarah Palin last night had her debut on Bill O'Reilly. Let's take a little bit a look [sic] at something she said.

SARAH PALIN: I think that these are the political establishment reporters who love to gin up controversy and spin up gossip. The rest of America doesn't care about that kind of crap.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Responding, of course, to that buzzy [sic] Game Change. How did she do last night?

TINA BROWN (Daily Beast): Well, you know, I think she's got to lose just being a victim. I mean, if that's the only brand, you know, it's going to tire after for a while. It’s interesting, she used the word uncomfortableness, when she talked about how the electorate felt about Obama right now. And that’s kind of what she projects. But that, of course, is what also make her riveting to watch.

STEPHANOPOULOS: She did. She was in pretty loving hands there with Bill O'Reilly.

BROWN: She was.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He pushed her a couple of times. But, Larry, one of the things I noticed- I mean, I went through this transition, going from politics to being an analyst. It's very different going from being an advocate to someone who steps back and analyzes the news.

LARRY HACKETT (Managing editor, People magazine): Well, as I was watching I was wondering what is she was going to do? I kept seeing, it said news contributor. I'm not sure what that means. I mean, she was clearly on in, kind of, a political role last night. She will obviously be warmly received by people who watch Fox, generally. But the issue for her is what does she do when she goes on? I think she has to break out of the message, you know, the common sense conservatism and say different things. I watched. A lot of people watched. I'm dying to see what the ratings are. The more she's on- I don’t know- It seems to have to change. She has to metamorphose into something else, otherwise, I think people might get bored.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Tina said the same thing. The numbers are going to be huge. She has a tremendous following. But, you know, some are wondering if it's the right move. Because, sometimes she can misspeak. Sometimes she can say things that aren't quite factual. If she is thinking about getting back into politics, down the line, you know, could this be-

BROWN: On the face of it, it seems like a great role. As a politician, she was often in error, but never in doubt, right?. So, now, she can be a pundit, where it doesn't matter where you're in error, frankly.

ROBERTS: That’s true.

BROWN: And you don’t ever have to be in doubt. But, at the same time, she might discover what she sort of discovered as a candidate. It's harder than it looks. It's actually harder than it looks to be a good pundit on the air. You have got to have stuff to say.

HACKETT: But, if the idea is for her to get better at what she does, better at interviews, there’s no better environment for her to do that.

ROBERTS: That's true, Larry.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, yeah. And she starts out with an audience that's predisposed to love her. I gotta say, I don't think she’s going to come back into politics.

ROBERTS: Into politics?

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think this is the alternative to politics for Sarah Palin.

BROWN: She’s in very good hands there. You know, Roger Ailes, who runs Fox, in his old role as a political consultant, he was the guy who made Richard Nixon camera-ready. So, you know, if you're going to learn how to be telegenic as a politician, she sure could do it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And he wanted Sarah Palin.

HACKETT: And he could become something of a king-maker. To your point, there may be somebody else who doesn’t have her baggage, who may be smoother, who may be more articulate, she then decides and says, this is the one I support.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I think you're on to something.

ROBERTS: A lot of power and influence right there.

HACKETT: Absolutely.

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