PBS's Gwen Ifill Classifies Illinois as the South, Claims Media Stuffed with Republicans

PBS Washington Week host Gwen Ifill participated in her monthly Internet chat at washingtonpost.com on Thursday, and committed at least one noticeable error. When someone asked Ifill about the "revolving door" between the media and politics – now symbolized by Time Deputy Washington Bureau Chief James Carney working for Vice President-elect Biden – she claimed that it’s "more often the other way" – more often between Republicans and the media.For many years, MRC’s Brent Baker chronicled the Revolving Door, and it was dominated by Democrats, about three Democrats for each Republican – and that included liberal Republicans like Sen. John Chafee.Ifill also mysteriously suggested Illinois qualified as the South when one chatter complained Obama had no cabinet picks from the South:

Breaking News: WaPo says Ron Kirk (Dallas) for USTR -- does that satisfy the South?Gwen Ifill: Texas works for me. And some parts of Illinois(Ray LaHood) might too.

Ray LaHood represents Peoria, which doesn’t exactly border Kentucky.Here's the question about Jay Carney and the Revolving Door:  

Washington, D.C.: What do you think about Time's Jay Carney going over to the administration to work for Biden? Linda Douglass "crossed over" to go work for Obama. What's she going to do in the new White House? And why do major news figures like these two leave journalism for political jobs?Gwen Ifill: I wouldn't be too quick to lump everyone's ambitions and callings together with one glib explanation. There has always been crossover -- more often the other way. Remember, Diane Sawyer worked in the Nixon White House. Pierre Salinger. William Safire. I could go on.

Let's hope Ifill isn't implying that Pierre Salinger symbolized a Nixon man or a Republican hack in the media. Salinger was press secretary for JFK before working for decades as a reporter for ABC News.  Ifill also agreed when a chatter took offense with someone else who claimed Caroline Kennedy was being picked because she can bring the cash, but she's not so qualified:

Caroline Kennedy is promoted as a very attractive candidate because she can bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Demorcratic table: Come on poster. She's an accomplished attorney, published author on Constitutional law, First Amendment rights expert, not a rich soccer mom.Gwen Ifill: I think she is all that AND a rich soccer mom -- that is, if her kids play soccer. But could she find her way to Binghamton?

Predictably, Ifill did take the opportunity during the Post chat to plug her book coming out on Inauguration Day celebrating "The Breakthrough" of  the "Age of Obama." It must have been rewarding to push that Age along as a journalist and a debate moderator.

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