The Hollywood Reporter's Paul Gough reports that MSNBC reporter David Shuster's exile from the airwaves now has a scheduled end:
MSNBC correspondent David Shuster will serve a two-week suspension for comments that angered the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. NBC News President Steve Capus confirmed on Thursday that Shuster will be back to work on Feb. 22.
Hillary Clinton's campaign confirmed on Wednesday that she would show up for an MSNBC debate on February 26 in Ohio.
Late on Tuesday afternoon, Bill Clinton submitted to an interview with longtime Washington, DC radio talker WMAL-AM (the D.C. home of Rush Limbaugh). The former president complained about media bias like it was brand new: "the political press has avowedly played a role in this election. I’ve never seen this before." (What about 1992?) He repeatedly insisted "two comprehensive, objective studies" show Barack Obama gets better press than his wife. When asked about the David Shuster "pimped out" remarks about Chelsea, Clinton praised his wife for countering the blatant sexism in the media: "I think she did the right thing to stick up, not just for our daughter, but for women everywhere. The level of blatant, vicious sexist comments by some people in this campaign has been appalling." He also applauded her for standing up for "basic human decency."
Clinton was interviewed by WMAL host Chris Plante (formerly a longtime CNN Pentagon reporter/producer) around 5 PM yesterday, and Plante aired most of it on his show from 8 to 10 PM. WMAL replayed clips of it several times again this morning. (Audio, whole or in parts, is presently here.) Plante began by asking if Hillary was now the underdog, and momentum was slipping away. Clinton went straight to media bias:
Hillary Clinton should be nobody’s idea of a paragon of civil discourse in the political arena. Her personal style of political warfare is ruthless, a bare-knuckles fight to the death. Ask Ken Starr. Her idea of employee relations is also rough. Paul Fray, an Arkansas campaign worker said she cursed him out with F-bombs and ethnic slurs after Bill Clinton lost his one race for Congress in 1974. A co-worker told NBC News in 1999 that he heard cussing from Hillary that night like he’d never heard before.
So it’s a little strange to see Hillary appearing so upset over MSNBC reporter David Shuster suggesting that Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by Hillary’s campaign. Shuster was substituting as host of Tucker Carlson’s show and used the P-word as he suggested to liberal radio host Bill Press that it was wrong for the Clinton campaign to have Chelsea call supporters, but not grant reporters any access to her.
As fellow NewsBuster Brad Wilmouth has documented, last night an inspired Chris Matthews declared that in watching Barack Obama speak, "I felt this thrill going up my leg."
Joe Scarborough has offered a graphic variation on the metaphor to depict how the Clinton folks might be feeling this morning. It came at 7:05 AM ET during today's Morning Joe, subsequent to a discussion of Matthews' thrill-up-his-leg line.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Look at these numbers; the percentages of victories. You're talking about feelings? If I were running Hillary Clinton's campaign right now, if I were Howard Wolfson, I might have a feeling actually running down my leg.
A shocked Willie Geist could be heard exclaiming "oh God!"
During MSNBC's live coverage of Tuesday's presidential primary elections, after the speeches of Barack Obama and John McCain had aired, Chris Matthews expressed his latest over the top admiration for Obama's speaking skills as the MSNBC anchor admitted that Obama's speech created a "thrill" in his leg: "It's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often." Minutes later, Brian Williams poked fun at Matthews' confession: "Let's talk about that feeling Chris gets up his leg when Obama talks ... That seems to be the headline of this half hour." (Transcript follows)
At about 10:13 p.m., right after McCain finished his speech, which came after Obama's speech, co-anchor Keith Olbermann remarked that, due to Obama's unusual speaking skills, it was a good idea for any other speaker to speak before the Illinois Democrat instead of after him. Matthews then expressed what he referred to as an "objective assessment" of Obama's speech:
OK, it was probably just a Freudian slip by someone with the Potomac Primary on the noggin. But perhaps big-government loving MSNBC should consider it as its official new sign-off. In any case, here's how David Gregory said goodbye at 3:59 PM ET at the end of his stint as network host this afternoon:
DAVID GREGORY: That's going to do it for me. My colleague Norah O'Donnell will take over our coverage. I'm David Gregory, thanks for Washington. Thanks for watching, rather. Stay with MSNBC -- all day coverage of Chesapeake Tuesday. Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews will host coverage of the returns. That's at 6 o'clock PM tonight Eastern, only on MSNBC, the place for politics. Have a good afternoon.
Is NBC News allergic to the use of "pimp" during its serious news broadcasts? In the wake of the scandal over MSNBC's David Shuster suggesting Chelsea Clinton had been "pimped out" by her mother's campaign, a quick look at the Nexis database shows that NBC News hosts and anchors have not been immune to the rising use of "pimp" in our pop culture as not only a noun, but as a verb or adjective, meaning to promote (either selling a product or the attributes of a person) or to improve or renovate (like the MTV show Pimp My Ride).
This is especially true of the Today show, where Al Roker, Natalie Morales, and Meredith Vieira (in her case by reading a quote) have all used the newfangled word. CNBC reporter Jane Wells also filed a story on the "Pimped Out John," a deluxe toilet with all kinds of amenities. Snippets of transcript follow.
Former CBS correspondent and best selling author Bernard Goldberg noted the clear double standard NBC and MSNBC has on liberal versus conservative commentators. On the February 11 edition of "The O’Reilly Factor," Goldberg discussed the corruption at NBC News after the fallout from the David Shuster "pimped out" comments.
Goldberg alluded to left wing partisan commentator Keith Olbermann, without mentioning him by name, and noted that has anchored the election night coverage and moderated a presidential debate. Goldberg posed the question "would NBC News have Rush Limbaugh anchoring their election night coverage on MSNBC? Would they have an angry, ideological right winger like Michael Savage anchor their election night coverage on MSNBC?" He then answered his own question "of course not!" And added that "they do have a left wing bomb thrower doing it."
As reported by Politico Monday evening, John Harris interviewed the presidential candidate, producing the following delicious exchange (emphasis added, h/t NB reader Thomas Stewart and Inside Cable News):
I wouldn't want to create problems for Contessa Brewer [file photo]. But again today the spirited MSNBC anchor said something that made me wonder whether she might be a closeted conservative in the belly of the liberal beast.
Janet Huckabee, responding to Brewer's question on the possibility that her husband would withdraw from the presidential race, drew a contrast between the Romney and Huckabee campaigns.
David Shuster’s suspension was a topic of discussion on the February 11 edition of "The View," as at least Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg disagreed with the Clinton campaign for demanding an even harsher punishment for Shuster. Walters first expressed mixed feelings that many people rely on "The View" for news adding "sometimes we’re very wonderful and very accurate and sometimes we’re not."
An offended Joy Behar chimed "I don’t think we’re less accurate than a lot of the shows that I watch, because I watch all of them," adding "we do our research here." Barbara Walters apologetically replied "I shouldn’t have said that."
MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham appeared on "Hannity & Colmes" on Friday night to discuss the David Shuster suspension over his suggestion that Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by Hillary. Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes insisted both that Shuster was (a) dreadfully wrong and yet (b) over-punished for a verbal miscue. (FNC's transcript is here.)
Both hosts suggested that Tim was defending Shuster, which he denied. "Chelsea Clinton now is 27 years old. She is not the 13-year-old that moved into the White House. And the problem that — we have a much greater problem in the United States today — that she's been treated....with such an adoring tone. They really treat her like Saint Chelsea." Tim also said MSNBC had a double standard between Shuster and far wilder comments from Keith Olbermann: "Keith Olbermann could come on and say that Bush is responsible for killing 3,500 Americans. Or remember when he called Chris Wallace a monkey posing as a newscaster?"
As NewsBusters has been reporting, MSNBC's reaction to David Shuster's "pimped out" Chelsea Clinton comment is an extraordinary example of the double standard that exists at this admittedly left-leaning cable network.
In fact, the goings-on since Shuster first made this remark last Thursday make it crystal clear that potentially insensitive comments directed at the Clinton family are thoroughly verboten by MSNBC, whereas derogatory statements concerning President George W. Bush are highly encouraged.
As another example of this hypocrisy, consider the following disgraceful report concerning Bush's twin daughters aired on MSNBC's "Countdown" November 28, 2006 (h/t NBer Grammy):
The "pimped out" controversy surrounding MSNBC's David Shuster - destined to be called "Pimp Gate" - took a turn for the bizarre when Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sent a letter to Steve Capus, President of NBC News.
Published for all to see at the Washington Post's "The Trail" blog Saturday, the letter demonstrated a disturbing number of hypocrisies and double standards inherent in today's liberally biased media.
See if you can find them all (emphasis added to assist your search):
Here's more buzz about how much trouble Newsbusters eagle eye Mark Finkelstein has caused for MSNBC's David Shuster. (He was first on this, people.) Through the Inside Cable News blog, we see the blog Big Head DC reports buzz that bosses at MSNBC threatened to fire David Shuster "on the spot" when he didn't immediately pound his chest and ask for forgiveness for suggesting Chelsea Clinton was being "pimped out" by her mother:
Big Head DC has learned from sources inside the MSNBC camp that Phil Griffin, senior vice president at the network, “screamed” at reporter David Shuster for not agreeing to immediately apologize to Chelsea Clinton for saying on-air she had been “pimped out” by her mom’s campaign. Griffin threatened to fire Shuster “on the spot,” and it was only with intervention from Tim Russert that Shuster didn’t lose his position.
Want to know how Barack Obama would intend to run against John McCain? Consider this line from Obama's speech to the Jefferson-Jackson dinner this evening in Virginia:
This week, this week, we found out that the presumptive nominee of the Republican party will be Senator John McCain [scattered boos in the audience.] Now, I believe John McCain is a good man and a genuine American hero. And we honor his half-century of service to this nation.
As NewsBusters readers are fully aware, MSNBC's David Shuster has apologized and been suspended for asking a guest on Thursday's "Tucker," "[D]oesn't it seem like Chelsea [Clinton's] sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"
As if that wasn't enough, on Friday evening's "Countdown," host Keith Olbermann also apologized (video available here):
David has been suspended and remains only for me to apologize without limit to President Clinton and to Ms. Clinton on behalf of MSNBC. We are literally, dreadfully sorry.
If MSNBC is so sorry for Shuster's use of this phrase, shouldn't they be suspending Olbermann for a similar comment he made about President Bush and Gen. David Petraeus on September 20 (video available here courtesy of our friend Johnny Dollar, relevant section begins 55 seconds in, although readers are strongly encouraged to watch the entire delicious piece):
MSNBC says it has temporarily suspended anchor David Shuster from all NBC news broadcasts — except to offer his on-air apology for what he said about Chelsea Clinton.
Shuster outraged the Clinton campaign by saying on the air that the campaign had "pimped out" the Clintons' daughter, when they had her place phone calls to party superdelegates on her mother's behalf.
In a conference call with reporters, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson on Friday excoriated MSNBC's Shuster and called the comment "beneath contempt" and disgusting. And he said it could threaten Clinton's participation in a debate later this month on MSNBC and in future debates on the network.
Although MSNBC representatives make disgracefully offensive comments about President George W. Bush on a daily basis, it appears there is something the network won't tolerate: over-the-top remarks about Chelsea Clinton.
Such appears to be the case as MSNBC correspondent David Shuster has apparently been suspended for comments he made about the former first daughter on Thursday's "Tucker."
*****Update at end of post: Hillary's front-group, Media Matters, is absolutely thrilled by this announcement.
Chris Matthews went off on one of his patented tirades on today's Morning Joe, imagining how conservatives would relish going after a President Hillary Clinton with a vengeance. Might Matthews, understandably, be short on sleep? He also bit Mika Brzezinski's head off for a harmless statement.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well you know a lot of Republican talk show people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, I think authors, successful authors, I must say, like Ann Coulter, they wouldn't be so unhappy to have Hillary Clinton to beat up for four or eight years, especially four years. And Mr. DeLay would probably love to have Hillary to beat up for two years and then win back the house in '10. I mean I could see the strategy -- sometimes in bad weather you let the other team have the ball. You elect to kick rather than receive. Let them have the ball in the Ice Bowl. Let them try to move it past the second or third yard while you come down hard on them. The people like Bill Kristol out there, the neo-conservatives. Imagine Hillary Clinton as president for a couple of months with about a one-point advantage coming into office? They will crash around her, hitting her with everything they've got.
David Shuster: not just an MSNBC "correspondent" anymore -- now a Dem campaign consultant too! In the opening segment of today's Morning Joe, Shuster offered a kernel of consulting wisdom to the Obama campaign, and the message was clear: Barack needs to get rougher with those mean-spirited Republicans.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: We did get some comments from Barack Obama yesterday about Mitt Romney dropping out.
WILLIE GEIST: I thought that was very interesting. Obama was responding to the comments we just heard earlier where Mitt Romney said Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will "surrender to terror." Here was Obama's response.
Cut to clip of Obama speaking to reporters on a campaign plane.
Appearing on Tucker Carlson's show a few days ago, Hillary fan Lanny Davis observed that Tucker's is "about the only show on MSNBC that consistently allows a Clinton perspective to be expressed." But maybe not so much when, as this evening, David Shuster is the guest host. Employing one of the more graphic metaphors to be heard about a Clinton from the MSM, Shuster tonight claimed that Chelsea Clinton is being "pimped out" by her mother's campaign.
The jumping off point was a clip in which three members of The View mentioned having been called by Chelsea on behalf of her mother. Shuster's guests were Dem pundit Bill Press and columnist Bob Franken.
With Joe Scarborough away, the mice did play during the opening segment of today's Morning Joe . . .
WILLIE GEIST [facetiously]: David, I know how you like to speak for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the rest of that group.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: He's going to the [CPAC] convention.
GEIST: You're the voice of that community, but can you make sense out of this? Are they willing, the conservatives, the Limbaughs, the Hannitys of the world, to concede the election, to not have John McCain be president, to take Hillary Clinton over them, just to take a principled stand?
"He will make Cheney look like Gandhi," Buchanan said.
Buchanan participated in a panel with former Bill Clinton political adviser Paul Begala and liberal Air America radio talk show host Rachel Maddow on NBC's February 6 "Today." Buchanan told "Today" host Matt Lauer that McCain will have to shift focus from the economy to other issues.
If you had any doubt that low-rated MSNBC host Chris Matthews is completely in the tank for Democrat Barack Obama, take a look at this week's New York Observer.
Before giving you the gag-inducing quotes, I must pause to wonder: Why does anyone allow this man to take part in presidential debates? The Hillary Clinton folks who previously said that Fox News Channel was so hopelessly pro-Republican that it wasn't worth debating on their network have clearly dropped the ball with Matthews. He has no interest in keeping things fair for Clinton.
That's true in spades when it comes to the Republicans, though. As much as he loves John McCain's pandering to liberal journalist sensibilities, there's no chance Chris Matthews will abandon someone he believes is the "New Testament" of politics:
Joe Scarborough has given away the MSM's dirty big secret: it hates Mitt Romney and is letting that animus distort its coverage of the Republican race. Joe went on an impassioned riff at the opening of today's Morning Joe.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: I want the media mavens in Manhattan and Washington, DC to listen what I'm about to tell you, because it goes against your narrative, but it is the truth. Look at the map; let's put the map back up there. Last night was a good night for John McCain, he won the big states . . . but starting at about 9 PM last night, before a lot of the Western states were closed, we heard over and over again that Mike Huckabee had now raced into second place, and once again friends that Mitt Romney should drop from the race . . . McCain had nine states won, Romney had seven states won, Huckabee had five states won. And yet, what did we hear time and time again, at this network and every other network: Mike Huckabee has now raced into second place.
First, to be fair to Keith Olbermann, I personally doubt the MSNBC anchor harbors prejudicial sentiments towards Mexican-Americans, but really, can you imagine the ire, or very least wide-open speculation if say Don Imus had said this?:
New York Senator Clinton, an adopted Giants fan watched the game in Minnesota and told the Associated Press, quote, "Super Bowl, Super Tuesday, we've got one down, let's get the other." This as her husband watched the game in New Mexico with the former governor, or with the governor and former presidential Bill Richardson, possibly asking Richardson for an endorsement and then, "would you please pass the guacamole?"
Video from Feb. 4 "Countdown" (22 secs):Windows (1.25 MB), plus MP3 audio (149 kB).
Don't take NewsBusters's word for it. According to Lanny Davis, with one exception MSNBC has donned flippers and goggles to go entirely in the tank for Barack Obama.
Davis, who made his bones tirelessly defending Bill Clinton during the dark Lewinsky days, appeared on Tucker Carlson's show this evening. Tucker opened the conversation by asking whether Davis sensed Obama's momentum. But Lanny was more interested in getting his point on the record about MSNBC's pro-Obama bias.