Tom Brokaw: Another Strongly Biased Moderator

Former NBC anchorman (and interim Meet the Press host) Tom Brokaw is tonight's presidential debate moderator, in the “town hall” format. Moderators usually choose a slate of “uncommitted voters” who ask mostly liberal questions. Charlie Gibson broke that mold in 2004 – and he’s the only one of the four 2004 moderators who didn’t get a repeat invitation. If anyone wonders if Brokaw is part of the liberal media, see our Greatest Tilts 1983-2003. Since Brokaw retired from the anchor desk after the 2004 election, here are more recent liberal utterances:

Obama Christ: "Senator Obama, who had an Ivy league education and could’ve gone to Wall Street, went back to Chicago, on the South Side. As you know, his supporters have defended him for working with poor families, many of whom lost their jobs when the Gary steel mills closed. In that mocking fashion, it seemed to a lot of people that you were belittling the role of a community organizer, and it led to this button -- it was addressed to Senator Palin, because she also talked about it -- ‘Jesus Christ was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor.’ In retrospect, do you think you had too much sport with his role as community organizer, Mr. Mayor?" – Brokaw to Rudy Giuliani after the Republican convention on Meet the Press, September 14, 2008.

Run, Gore, Run! "How can you, given the passion that you feel about this issue and the enormity of the dimensions that we’re dealing with here, turn down the idea that you could be in the administration as a Vice President or as an energy czar or as both?...There is no power like 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for setting the agenda, for drawing attention to it, for moving the country, and for moving Congress. Mr. Vice President, no one knows that better than you do."
— NBC’s Tom Brokaw to Al Gore, July 20, 2008 Meet the Press.

Rush Limbaugh Is Mindless: "My problem with the whole spectrum [of talk radio] is there is not — you know what Rush’s, what his whole drill is. He doesn’t want to hear another point of view. Except his. That’s my issue....The problem with talk radio is they mock anyone else’s point of view, and they do it often in a mindless fashion. You know that as well as I do. Because it’s a hot button for the choir that’s listening to them, and it works for them commercially. There are very few programs like you, like yours, in which you’ll interview people across the political spectrum. It’s mostly go out there and hit the hot button all day long." — Brokaw on Laura Ingraham’s radio show, November 26, 2007.

Far Right GOP, Centrist Dems: "The country is sending a signal to both parties: We want you guys to work together to solve problems. You’ve got Republicans running from the far right much more toward the center. You’ve got a new breed of Democrats this year in Jim Webb in Virginia and Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, moving toward the center. So we may be working our way toward the end of a deeply polarized country politically at the national level." — Former anchor Tom Brokaw on NBC Nightly News November 6 (election eve), 2006.

9/11 Doom and Gloom: "Five years later there are more questions, more uncertainty. After all, five years later the Taliban are back in Afghanistan, Iraq is on the verge of anarchy, Iran is more dangerous than ever. Five years later there have been no more attacks on the U.S., but the terrorists are still out there." — Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw on Today, Sept. 11, 2006.

9/11 Marred by Bush Boilerplate: "This is the kind of speech that he could have given three years ago, not five years after 9/11. The American public no has been through a lot in five years, Chris, and with all due respect to the President, they’ll be measuring his rhetoric versus the reality that they see almost every day in their newspapers and on television." — Brokaw to Hardball host Chris Matthews on MSNBC after the President’s speech to the nation, September 11, 2006.

New York May Soon Be Underwater:

Brokaw: "About ten percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by ice, most of that in the polar regions. But if enough of that ice melts, the seas will rise dramatically and the results will be calamitous. Scientists are keeping a watchful eye on the largest concentrations of ice on the planet: Greenland and Antarctica."

Professor Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University: "If we lose a significant part of either of them, coastal civilization as we know it will disappear."

Brokaw, over computer-generated video showing buildings and statues under water: "If this worst-case scenario should occur, in the coming centuries New York could be abandoned, its famous landmarks lost to the sea."

Dr. James Hansen, Goddard Institute for Space Studies: "Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Miami — they would all be under water." — From Brokaw’s two-hour Discovery Channel special, Global Warming: What You Need to Know, excerpt shown on the July 15, 2006 NBC Nightly News. (Columnist Dave Shiflett joked: "You’ll find more dissent at a North Korean political rally than in this program.")

Cheney Should Be Indicted, Too: "The real lingering question for me is, was this a one-man band, or were there others in the administration who were linked to his efforts to do that? And, of course, the question that will be raised by a lot of people not in any way fans of this administration: What did Dick Cheney know and when did he know it? You know, they’re joined almost cheek by jowl, they ride to work every morning, they’ve been very close philosophically and personally for a long time." — Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews on October 28, 2005, soon after the indictment of former Cheney aide Lewis Libby.

Taxes Are Too Low:

Tom Brokaw: "This disconnect between those people who are in uniform and fighting this war over there and a large portion of our population [is] because no sacrifice is being asked of anyone at home. The President is not asking us to conserve oil or to ration gasoline or to push hard for alternative sources of energy in this conflict."

Ted Koppel: "Or to pay a nickel more in taxes."

Brokaw: "Or to pay more in taxes for it....I don’t believe that this administration, or, for that matter, the opposition has asked enough of the American people." — Exchange on NBC’s Meet the Press, December 25, 2005.

Brokaw Loves Earth Worship and Buddhism: "Our best efforts will be for naught if we fail on another front: if we fail to love our mother, Mother Earth. It will do us little good to achieve peace on earth if earth becomes a dead planet....Individually and collectively, you’re also stewards of the air we breathe, the water that we drink, wild lands and creatures large and small. Develop a sense of proportion about your personal and professional needs. Eschew excess and embrace moderation in your consumption habits. Sackcloth and kelp soup are not required, but the Buddhist reminder of the need to live lightly on the earth is a helpful guide to the daily habits and needs of us all." — Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, delivering the commencement address at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, June 12, 2005.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis