On Thursday's "Good Morning America," journalist Bill Weir touted left-wing filmmaker Spike Lee as a "social critic" and ignored any mention of the director's bizarre conspiracy theories, such as his 2005 contention that the United States government intentionally blew up the levees during Hurricane Katrina in order to flood African American areas. Instead, Weir marveled, "No director in Hollywood has attacked the thorny issue of race quite like Spike Lee."
While promoting Lee's new World War II film, the anchor of the weekend edition of GMA enthused, "'Do the Right Thing' and 'Malcolm X,' still loom over his 15 other feature films as ground breaking emblems of righteous anger." Weir also labeled the more hopeful tone of Lee's "The Miracle at St. Anna" as a "reflection of one social critic's mood in an age of change."Of course, Weir neglected to mention that this same "social critic" has also declared "it's not far-fetched" to think that the levees in New Orleans were destroyed by the United States government.
"Good Morning America" weekend anchor Kate Snow complained on Wednesday's show about a lack of access to Sarah Palin during the vice presidential candidate's trip to the United Nations in New York. The ABC journalist snidely commented on the Republican's meetings with world leaders: "But aside from a few photo ops, New Yorkers aren't getting much more than a glimpse of Sarah Palin." She added, "New York City is a pretty easy place to get lost in the crowd, even, it turns out, if you're a potential vice president."
Regarding the exits and entrances of Palin, Snow remarked, "Outside, a clear shot of her exit. Until, a patrol car and Secret Service SUV just happened to pull up right in front of our cameras." While discussing camera footage of Palin talking to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, she fretted, "The pool camera got 15 seconds. With Henry Kissinger, even less."
Kate Snow hasn't always had to complain about a lack of access. She has repeatedly received exclusive interviews with Bill Clinton, in particular. And in return, provided fawning coverage to the ex-president. During the August 4 edition of GMA, the journalist actually prefaced a question by telling Clinton he didn't need to answer: "Pretty simple question. And maybe you don't want to answer it right now and I respect that fully. But, if you want to answer it, do you personally have any regrets about what you did campaigning for your wife?"
On Sunday's edition of "This Week," journalist Cokie Roberts indicated that, in regards to John McCain's reaction to the ongoing financial problems on Wall Street, "...He's a Republican and whenever Republicans get into this kind of mess, everybody, even people who were not born or close to being born, the specter of Herbert Hoover comes out to, to haunt them." Roberts didn't clarify just who the "everybody" is that would connect McCain and the Depression era president.
Roberts, who appeared on the ABC program's panel to discuss last week's Fannie Mae meltdown and the government's planned bailout, also asserted a "stark contrast" between the economic advisors of Senators McCain and Barack Obama. She then added that the Democrat's liberal experts reassure her: "I mean, the Obama advisers, with- looking at Bob Rubin and Warren Buffett and Paul Volcker in there, you know, you do feel a sense of security there."
Longtime journalistSam Donaldson placed blame for the Fannie Mae crisis at the feet of deregulation and singled out former McCain advisor Phil Gramm: "We deregulated in the beginning of '99 and 2000 the banking industry, Phil Gramm and others, I think that Obama ad is correct. He was one of the prime movers. Now we're going to have to clean that up at great expense."
On Thursday's "Nightline," co-anchor Terry Moran trashed John McCain for running a hypocritical, dishonest campaign against Barack Obama. He accused the Republican of doing "the kind of thing that George W. Bush and his supporters did to McCain in South Carolina in 2000." The segment, which featured no examples of sleazy campaigning by Barack Obama, began with co-anchor Cynthia McFadden complaining, "Make no mistake, John McCain very well may defeat Barack Obama. But to do so, has he compromised principles in the style that got him this far?"
She also whined, "With just 47 days to the election, is the Straight Talk Express shifting course? Will the real John McCain please stand up?" Moran's tone dripped with sarcasm as he ripped into the Arizona senator's supposed hypocrisy. The ABC journalist fretted that McCain "clearly decided he's got to change. Change a lot, in some ways, in order to win this thing." As old and new clips of the candidate were spliced together, Moran added, "John McCain meet John McCain."
On Friday, "Good Morning America" concluded its week long train trip to election battleground states and ended up devoting 28 minutes to high profile Democrats and just over 14 to Republicans, a disparity of two-to-one. The tour, which was designed to see what average Americans think about the presidential election, featured mostly Democratic guests. Senator Barack Obama appeared on Monday, Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, Joe Biden on Thursday and Michelle Obama and Jill Biden on Friday. The only GOP representation came in the form of a short interview with John McCain on Tuesday and another on Wednesday with the senator and Cindy McCain.
Additionally, while Senator McCain appeared jointly with his wife on Wednesday, Barack Obama alone received two segments on Monday, totaling nearly eight and a half minutes. Michelle Obama was featured, along with Senator Biden's wife, on Friday for another five and a half minutes. (McCain's brief appearance on Tuesday was not originally announced in the ABC schedule, lasted less than three minutes and only dealt with the financial problems on Wall Street.)
"Good Morning America" reporter Kate Snow on Thursday nervously quizzed Senator Joe Biden as to why the Democratic presidential ticket isn't further ahead. In contrast, co-host Diane Sawyer grilled John McCain on abortion and overturning Roe V. Wade when he appeared on Wednesday's program. Snow skipped that particular issue while talking to Biden.
Instead, she fussed, "He [Barack Obama] was with a bunch of Democrats and he was with Barbra Streisand, a whole bunch of Hollywood stars. And he said, 'There are a lot of Democrats who come up to me and say they're nervous that we're not doing better, that were not further ahead in the polls.' Are you nervous about that?" So, Snow worried both about the chances of the Democratic ticket and simultaneously avoided a tough question. One might have asked Biden if, considering the tough economic times, it was such a good idea to spend the evening with rich Hollywood celebrities.
Beginning on September 15 and continuing through the 19th, "Good Morning America" has been touring America via train and finding economic misery and despair along the way. During the three special shows that have aired so far, which ABC has dubbed the "Whistle-Stop Tour '08," the program traveled to struggling towns in Massachusetts, Ohio and New York. On Monday, while talking with an elderly man who had lived through he Great Depression, co-host Diane Sawyer described him as someone who had survived "another time of economic crisis." (As a comparison, a quarter of the population was unemployed during the Great Depression. Unemployment today stands at just over six percent.)
On Tuesday, co-host Robin Roberts mentioned the people of Rome, New York and their "tough times." "...Some of them are feeling hard times," she added. On Wednesday, near Gustavus, Ohio, Roberts reported from a small town that "is not booming." While visiting the "suffering town" of Niagara New York on Tuesday, Sawyer talked to parents at a high school hockey game and lamented, "There were moms up in the bleachers, who say they have to look across the river [to Canada] too and wonder about American leadership."
"Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer on Wednesday grilled Cindy and John McCain about differences in the couple's position on abortion and the subject of overturning Roe V. Wade. And yet, when co-anchor Robin Roberts talked to Barack and Michelle Obama in May, she didn't raise the issue, instead wondering if the Illinois senator would be prepared for all the negativity he would surely face as Democratic nominee.
In fact, on at least seven appearances in 2008, no GMA host asked Barack or Michelle Obama about abortion and that includes skipping issues such as the senator's controversial opposition to a bill that would have offered protection to babies who survive botched abortions.
On Wednesday, Sawyer cited a CBS interview in which Mrs. McCain stated her opposition to overturning Roe V. Wade. The journalist then interrogated, "And yet, Senator McCain you have indicated in previous interviews that you would like the repeal of Roe versus Wade so that the states can make their decisions. What's the difference in the two of your view of the issue?"Sawyer followed up, But, Mrs. McCain, do you oppose the repeal of Roe versus Wade? Was that report correct?"
"Good Morning America's" train tour across the country continued on Tuesday with Diane Sawyer interviewing Hillary Clinton and encouraging the senator to agree that John McCain is too old to be president. She also jokingly invited the former first lady aboard, stating that the program could "go out and buy you some pajamas."
But first, adopting the liberal talking points that McCain might die soon, the ABC host wondered, "...Senator Claire McCaskill said recently that she felt that it was a dangerous decision to pick Governor Palin, because of Senator McCain's age and because of his health. Do you agree?" After Clinton declined to support McCaskill's contention, Sawyer prompted, "So, you're not going to endorse what she said?"
The interview, which took place in New York as part of what GMA has dubbed the "Whistle-Stop Tour '08," also including the ABC journalist fretting about the tight presidential race. She worried, "A lot of people are saying, with this kind of economic news, this situation, Senator Obama and the Democrats should be further ahead. Why is it so close?"
On day one of "Good Morning America's" five day train trip across America, host Diane Sawyer announced a slate of guests filled almost entirely of liberals. At the top of Monday's program, Sawyer touted a schedule that included Barack Obama on the 15th, Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, John and Cindy McCain together on Wednesday, Joe Biden on Thursday and Michelle Obama on Friday. For those keeping track, that's four liberal guests and one conservative duo. (Notice that Barack and Michelle Obama each get their own day, while the McCains appear jointly.)
The journey on the rails, which GMA has dubbed the "Whistle-Stop Tour '08," began in several towns in Massachusetts. Three segments revolved around Sawyer and fellow co-hosts Chris Cuomo and Robin Roberts talking with either residents or patrons of various restaurants. And while many of the Americans highlighted expressed concerns that no one would disagree, the ABC program also included a number of liberal perspectives and only one that could be called vaguely conservative. (Massachusetts resident Richard Bonito mentioned security and the need for a strong defense.) Resident Frank Algerio called for a "cap" on high gas prices. One Nicky Vaughn hoped the next president would pull troops from Iraq. No anchor or host pointed out the extremely left-wing make-up of the state either.
On Monday, "Good Morning America" kicked off a week-long train tour Across America with a fawning look at the younger generation of the Kennedy family, a clan that reporter Claire Shipman gushed is "the closest thing we have in this country to political royalty."
The train journey, which is intended to see what Americans across the country really think about the upcoming presidential election, began in Massachusetts and featured Shipman rhapsodizing, "Baby boomers grew up watching them play football, sail off Hyannis Port, walk down the aisles swathed in glamour." (Of course, no mention was made of any of the various Kennedy family scandals.) Much of the segment featured the ABC journalist talking to fourth generation Kennedys. Over video of old footage of John F. Kennedy playing football off of Cape Cod, Shipman cooed to high school student Kerry Kennedy, "But one thing hasn't changed at all, games on the Cape just as cut throat as ever. Are there still big, gigantic get-togethers like that and is it still football?"
Just over two months ago, on June 5, Shipman filed another story in which she rhapsodized about the similarities between Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Barack Obama. After mentioning RFK's 1968 assassination, she indicated that an Obama election could be something similar to a "happy ending" for liberals: "The search to shift that mantle, futile of course. But also a quintessentially American desire for, if not a happy ending, some sense of completion."
ABC senior foreign correspondent Jim Sciutto appeared on Friday's "Good Morning America" to complain that places such as Abu Ghraib and the Guantanamo Bay detention center are fueling Muslim anger in the Middle East against the U.S. Sciutto, who was promoting his new book on America's enemies in that region, responded to co-host Robin Robert's question about what was causing such Islamic fury by opining, "It's a combination of things. The first one is a sense that their culture, their religion, their land is under assault, by America and that the most pointed examples of that are the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions."
On Friday, "Good Morning America" previewed five special editions of the ABC program that will air live from a train from September 15 through the 19. As the GMA anchors and reporters travel around America, will their election '08 questions follow the standard liberal perspective?
Robin Roberts previewed the type of queries that she asserted everyday Americans are concerned about. Three out of the four appeared to take the Democratic perspective or assume that the answers would always involve government doing more. In video clips, an unidentified male asked, "What do you plan on doing to make health care more affordable for the average American?" A child followed up by querying, "I'm wondering if you will lower the cost of college?" The next question saw a woman wanting to know, "When are you going to get our soldiers out of Iraq?"
Washington Post staff writer Kevin Merida talked to NewsBusters at a rally for John McCain in Fairfax, VA and denied that the media are biased. He asserted, "I think that most journalists are really conscientious about, you know, really looking at all sides of issues and subjects." However, he did hedge that "there's always some bias in media coverage and some, just, not-terrific journalism."
When asked about intense scrutiny into the life of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, Merida didn't see an issue of unfair coverage. "...She's somebody new on the scene and she's getting a lot of, you know, scrutiny, like anyone would, I think, in her position, with her background, her resume and, kind of, bursting onto the national scene in this sudden way." Asked specifically about possible double standards, such as when "Today" reporter Amy Robach speculated on September 3 about whether a Vice President Palin will "be shortchanging her kids or will she be shortchanging the country," Merida declined to comment on other media outlets.
On Thursday's "Good Morning America," reporter John Berman raised the issue of whether Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was politicizing her son's military service. Observing that Governor Palin will be giving a speech on September 11 at a deployment ceremony to send her son off to Iraq, Berman critiqued, "And it [the speech]will be open to television cameras. It's such a drastic difference from the way her own running mate John McCain handled his own son's deployment."
A few seconds later, Berman again referenced the deviations between McCain's son Jimmy, also in the military, and Palin's child. "Jimmy's six-month deployment came and went with hardly any public notice. Why? Because John McCain never mentioned it on the stump." He added, "That stands in stark contrast to what Governor Sarah Palin told more than 40 million viewers about her son during the Republican convention last week."
Berman continued to make his point clear by citing John Nagl, a senior fellow at the Center for New America Security. He asserted that the Alaska governor's frequent references to her son's deployment date "impose, conceivably, some risks on the soldier and the unit." The ABC journalist went on to draw contrasts between Beau Biden, son of Democratic vice presidential candidate, and the Palins. (The younger Biden is also being sent to Iraq in the fall.)
"Good Morning America" weekend anchor Kate Snow on Thursday derided the McCain/Palin ticket for focusing on a comment by Barack Obama that "you can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig." Sympathetically covering the Illinois senator's contention that he wasn't referring to Sarah Palin and her claims to be a lipstick-wearing hockey mom, Snow whined that the topic was "illogical" and editorialized that the coverage is "reaching ridiculous heights."
The ABC correspondent, who glowingly covered Hillary Clinton during the primaries, didn't seem to have much patience for a McCain campaign ad that drew a connection between Obama's remark and Palin's lipstick/pit bull line at the Republican convention. Snow dismissively announced that "voters" say "there's a frustration about how this race has been bogged down in less-serious issues."
Wednesday's "Good Morning America," featured a one-sided segment on whether Sarah Palin, as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, tried to have some books banned from the town's library. Despite the fact that no one featured in the segment could cite a specific book, co-host Robin Roberts labeled the event "a battle that brought her toe-to-toe with a local librarian over which books were appropriate and which were not, something her critics say crossed the line into censorship." Investigative reporter Brian Ross also intoned that there are "members of the Alaska Library Association who to this day remain very wary of Sarah Palin."
The Ross report featured several critics, but no clips or on camera explanations by the McCain/Palin campaign. Instead, the piece focused on the 1996 uproar over certain controversial books in the Wasilla library. Then-Mayor Palin asked librarian Mary Ellen Edmonds what the process would be for removing books. The librarian was ultimately fired. However, Ross explained toward the end of the piece, "In a conversation with me yesterday, the librarian said she could not recall Palin asking for specific book titles to be removed from the shelves."
ABC reporter Lisa Fletcher interviewed friends of Sarah Palin for a segment on Monday's "Nightline" and grilled them on whether a "small town mom" will be able to "sit down with Putin and deal with foreign issues?" Fletcher, who herself was a small town reporter before joining ABC in December of 2007, mostly avoided friendly queries and instead grilled the Alaskan friends of the Republican vice presidential candidate.
At one point she asked pal Sandy Hoest, "She's spent less than two years as the governor of Alaska. Why should Americans have any confidence whatsoever that this woman can fulfill the duties of vice president of the United States?" Later on, the journalist challenged, "Is it possible to be pro-choice and vote for Sarah Palin?" When a few of Palin's friends identified themselves as pro-choice, Fletcher pounced, "Does that put a strain on your friendship with Sarah?"
"Good Morning America" on Monday featured liberal New York Times columnist Tom Friedman as an energy expert to "fact check" John McCain's policies on the subject and advocate for higher taxes. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer never referred to Friedman's economic policies as liberal, despite the fact that he repeatedly made assertions such as this: "But, you know, there's really no effective plan to make us energy independent without what I call a price signal, without either a carbon tax or a gasoline tax that's really going to shape the market in a different way."
Sawyer began the segment by noting both candidates have plans for energy independence. She then asked, "Are they going to achieve it? Do they mean it?" However, the ABC host didn't ask Friedman to "fact check" Obama's plan. Instead she simply recited the Democrat's plans for eliminating Mid East Oil. And while Friedman freely attacked McCain's policies, he responded to a clip of Obama talking about investing more money into alternative energy by, again, complaining about a lack of gasoline tax: "Unless we have a floor onto the price of gasoline that really keeps that behavior going, you can't throw enough money at this problem."
On Friday's "Today" show, reporter David Gregory and other NBC personalities offered a sour and largely negative reaction to John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. Deriding the Bush years, Gregory asserted that after McCain's nomination, the party faced a "daunting challenge," How will the candidate "overcome the record of Republican rule over much of the past eight years?"
The network journalist also featured footage of former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson knocking the speech as "typical for a Republican" and "pretty disappointing." He criticized the candidate for not doing enough outreach to moderates. A theme repeated throughout the show was attacking McCain for not going out of his way to play up differences with the Republican delegates in the Minneapolis convention center. Gregory chided, "Yet in front the party faithful, the Arizona senator declined to mention his signature stands that most angered his party: campaign finance and immigration reform, as well as climate change."
All three network news anchors appeared together on each of the morning shows on Thursday and blithely dismissed the notion that members of the media have shown bias and sexist attitudes in response to Sarah Palin's nomination for vice president. "World News" host Charles Gibson, who visited along with NBC's Brian Williams and CBS's Katie Couric, told "Today" host Meredith Vieira that the role of a journalist is "to raise these questions." "It's not based on politics. It is simply- those are the questions you ask," he touted.
"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric acted as though the entire concept baffled her. "...But when you think of media these days, I mean, what does that mean exactly," she wondered. Placing blame on bloggers, she added, "In this case, it now means thousands and thousands of internet bloggers, partisan reporters and so I think you can't paint the media with a, with a broad brush."
Less than an hour after reporter David Gregory incorrectly huffed on Wednesday's "Today" show that the media have not questioned whether Sarah Palin can balance motherhood with serving as vice president, NBC correspondent Amy Robach explicitly did just that during a segment on how moms were reacting to the Alaska governor. Operating under a loaded either/or premise, she derided, "The broader question if Sarah Palin becomes vice president, will she be shortchanging her kids or will she be shortchanging the country?"
Labeling the segment "the mommy wars," Robach, a former beauty pageant contestant, went on point out that Palin is running despite having an infant child with Down's Syndrome and a pregnant 17-year-old daughter. She asserted that "the news has sparked both pride and condemnation." Robach also featured New York Times writer Jodi Kantor, who authored a piece on the subject in the September 2 edition of the paper. In a clip, Kantor discussed the fact that Palin went back to work only a few days after giving birth this past April. According to the journalist, "fellow mothers" found this "a little bit hard to fathom, a little bit hard to identify with."
On Wednesday's "Today," NBC reporter David Gregory, against all evidence, suggested that the media have not questioned whether Sarah Palin will be able to balance being both vice president and a mother. Referencing a earlier interview in which McCain surrogate Rudy Giuliani attacked reporters for doing exactly that, Gregory huffed, "That question has not been brought up by the media." "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira parroted, "Exactly."
However, on August 30, "Good Morning America" weekend co-host Bill Weir challenged a McCain spokesman: "Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the Senator, and the Governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?" On August 29, CNN "Newsroom" anchor John Roberts sniffed, "The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child."
Also on August 29, the Washington Post's Sally Quinn whined in a column, "Is she prepared for the all-consuming nature of the job?...Her first priority has to be her children. When the phone rings at three in the morning and one of her children is really sick what choice will she make?" Not only have members of the media discussed this subject, they've done so repeatedly and with great enthusiasm. So, is David Gregory somehow unaware of this fact or was he simply being disingenuous?
Appearing on Tuesday's "Today" show, Republican strategist Mary Matalin slammed the media for its "hair-on-fire" coverage of Sarah Palin's selection as the Republican vice presidential nominee of John McCain. In particular, she corrected a previous segment by David Gregory which asserted that the Alaska governor had hired an attorney to defend herself against an ethics probe into possible attempts to dismiss a state trooper.
Matalin asserted to host Matt Lauer that it wasn't true "that she's hired a lawyer to deal with this trooper issue. The attorney general, state attorney general hired the lawyer." She forcefully added, "That's what they do for the governor. She's an open book on this thing. The press is reacting to these things in sort of a hair-on-fire way because she's new." In his report, Gregory had incorrectly asserted, that Palin "revealed" she had hired the lawyer.
While NBC's Matt Lauer took pains to label John McCain's vice presidential nominee a "staunch" and "stalwart" conservative on Friday, all three network morning shows almost entirely avoided any ideological descriptors for Senators Obama, Biden and the major liberal speakers during the just completed August 25 to 28 Democratic National Convention.
Some of the individuals at the convention included Al Gore, Senator Ted Kennedy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, all politicians with an obvious leftward tilt. The only exception to the liberal label blackout included references by NBC's "Today" and CBS's "Early Show" on Tuesday when various reporters affectionately referred to Kennedy as the "liberal lion," of the Senate, a clear term on endearment. (ABC's "Good Morning America" used the word "lion" in regards to Kennedy, but not "liberal.") This foreshadows a Republican National Convention, September 1 to the 4, a period where John McCain and Sarah Palin will very likely be labeled "conservative" many times.
Just minutes after the news arrived that John McCain had selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate on Friday, "Today" host Matt Lauer broke into regular coverage and began labeling her as a "staunch conservative" and a "stalwart conservative." The "Today" show has, thus far, avoided using ideological labels for Barack Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, during this week's Democratic convention.
And although many members of the media have resisted pointing out Obama's inexperience, Lauer immediately seized on the subject for Palin and used Quayle-like "heartbeat away" terminology: "We have a 72 year-old nominee of the Republican Party and the vice presidency...This is a position of a heart beat away and how are people going to feel about Sarah Palin in that situation?" NBC political director Chuck Todd replied by asserting how McCain is "rolling the dice on this. He's absolutely gambling."
"Today" host Matt Lauer scored an interview with "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart for Thursday's show and praised the liberal comic as "one of the most respected and listened to political voices in this country." Continuing his fawning profile, he attributed a rise in the number of young people voting, in part, to the work of Stewart. It was just after that exchange that the comedian jabbed at Republican John McCain.
He asserted the increase in young voters was due to the fact that in this election, "...It helps to have some candidates, you know, who are not necessarily Matlockian," referring to TV character Ben Matlock, played by Andy Griffith and popular with older Americans. Now, it's one thing to say that Stewart's funny, but respected? By liberals, perhaps, but it's obvious that much of his appeal to members of the media derives from his partisan, relentless bashing of conservatives and Republicans. Tom Brokaw, another NBC luminary, wrote a profile on the comic for the April 18, 2005 issue of Time in which he rather ridiculously referred to the Comedy Central host as "our Athenian, a voice for democratic ideals and the noble place of citizenship, helped along by the sound of laughter." [Emphasis added]
"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams conducted an embarrassingly fawning interview with Michelle Obama on Wednesday's program regarding the subject of nasty Republicans and just how exciting the Democratic campaign is. At one point, he sympathetically questioned the politician's wife, "What of the attacks has busted through to you? What makes you angriest at John McCain, the Republicans? What's being said about your husband that you, you want to shout from the mountain tops is not true?"
More of the gushing interview aired on Thursday's "Today" show. During that segment, Williams cooed, "How often do you allow yourself to sit back and say, 'I can't believe this is happening? I can't believe we're doing this?'" Neither piece featured any tough questions. More representative were softballs about whether Mrs. Obama knows her husband will win or simply thinks it might happen.
Luke Russert, son of the late Tim Russert, appeared as a correspondent on Wednesday's "Today" show to tout the technological superiority of the Barack Obama campaign and its "online political revolution." Co-host Meredith Vieira pronounced the 23-year-old's reporting "terrific," but really the segment was just another puff piece on liberals such as Obama and Bill Clinton. Regarding the latter, Russert recounted meeting the ex-president at the Denver Democratic convention and being asked by Clinton how his Senator wife's speech went. Russert replied, "Well, judging from the crowd, pretty damn good."
The bulk of the segment featured Russert interviewing Jayron Finan, a new supporter of the Illinois senator and a Democratic delegate. Russert explained "Inspired by Obama's stand against the war and his less confrontational political style, she visited his website and got involved." Continuing to repeat talking points and cliches, he added, "As she heads to the convention hall, Jayron believes that bringing new blood to the political process is the best way to bring about change."
On Wednesday's "Today," frequent MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle filed a fawning, credulous report on "Amtrak Senator" Joe Biden and his daily habit of taking the train home from Washington D.C. after completing his duties in the U.S. Senate. Barnicle, who accompanied Biden during one of these trips back to Delaware, seemed to be repeating talking points when he touted how the journey keeps the politician grounded: "The train ride also had another benefit: Keeping him in touch with real people and his working class Irish Catholic roots."
After listing what political pundits think are Biden's strengths, the journalist cooed, "But for the Amtrak Senator, it's about working people he feels a part of." As though he were narrating one of the promotional videos that have been used to introduce speakers at the Democratic convention, Barnicle pivoted off a comment by Biden that one doesn't need a focus group for most political issues. The MSNBC personality extolled, "All you need, says the presumptive Democratic nominee for vice president, is a seat on a train that takes you home every night."