MSNBC's David Shuster: 'Good Grief!' Joe the Plumber Makes CPAC a Joke

Some might think MSNBC isn’t as aggressively liberal during the daytime as it is in prime time. But David Shuster aggressively pushed the idea that the Republicans were "out of touch" in the 11 am hour Thursday, complete with music going into the commercial break ("Out of Touch" by Hall and Oates – like that’s on the cutting edge?) Shuster suggested the Conservative Political Action Conference was a joke since it was featuring Joe the Plumber, and that booking him was a "huge mistake."

SHUSTER: With us now live is Armstrong Williams, he’s a syndicated radio talk show host, and Armstrong, why should anybody take CPAC seriously when it allows Joe the Plumber, invites Joe the Plumber to be one of the featured speakers? Good grief!

WILLIAMS: Well, you know, Joe the Plumber represents a certain constituency out there. He got a lot --

SHUSTER: Right. He represents those who don't have a proper license with tax liens against them. Does the Republican Party really want Joe the Plumber to be a role model?

WILLIAMS: You know, you can make that argument about his legal issues and his issues with the law, but there are people who identify with Joe the Plumber. I'm sure that he would not have been the choice of others but they chose him, they thought the audience wanted to hear him. And you know, the audience will decide whether they want to listen to him or not.

SHUSTER: That was a mistake, wasn't it?

WILLIAMS: I'm not going to say that was a mistake, that's their call.

SHUSTER: Armstrong, it's an easy call, though. CPAC. There are a lot of intellectual conservatives, people who we may have a lot of disagreement over policy issues, but people I respect, who are willing to say it's a huge mistake for conservatives to make Joe the Plumber a featured speaker at their conference!

WILLIAMS: Listen, obviously, the conservatives are in search of themselves. They’re soul-searching, they’re trying to look beyond the traditional speakers and thinkers they've had and they're looking for a hat, a trick in the bag and maybe they think this will work, but I'm not going to say they don't have a right to listen to Joe the Plumber. He has a voice. If people show up to listen to him, why can't he be heard?

Shuster asked one more question about where conservatives should be going, but right after that, the tone shifted back to honoring the Obamas. Michelle Obama was appearing at the Environmental Protection Agency, and MSNBC ran some live remarks, and then Shuster oozed:

Michelle Obama speaking at the Environmental Protection Agency. Again, she's been going to all the major government agencies since inauguration, every couple of days she’ll be delivering speeches. She’s clearly well received at all these agencies, her popularity of course has been skyrocketing and she's a very effective speaker, a very effective ambassador of sorts for the White House.

It’s hardly surprising that a new First Lady would be popular, but the latest CBS/New York Times poll is a little less dramatic than "skyrocketing": She’s getting 49 percent to view her favorably, five percent unfavorably and 44 percent are undecided.

Shuster broke into Mrs. Obama’s remarks just as she was celebrating the character and dedication of those "who’ve been working for this administration, for the EPA for longer than I’ve been alive." This might be seen as humor, but it is factually incorrect. Michelle Obama was born in 1964, and the EPA was created in 1970.

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