Joe Biden appeared this morning on Meet the Press, moderated by Tom Brokaw. In the opening series of questions, Brokaw probed Biden about the effect of Governor Sarah Palin's inclusion in the presidential campaign.
Brokaw asked generally how Biden would handle his upcoming debate with Palin, underscoring his question with the premise that it might be a delicate situation debating a woman. Biden responded with a rambling answer in which he stated that he debates women all the time in the U.S. Senate and had previously run against a formidable female opponent in one of his Delaware Senate races. Biden went on to say that he would have an easier time debating vice presidential runners-up Tom Ridge and Mitt Romney since he was familiar with their policy positions. Biden said he did not know Governor Palin's policy positions (video here).
BIDEN: ... what is new is I have no idea what her policies [are]. I assume they're the same as John's. I just don't know.
Biden further claimed he had not seen Palin's entire RNC speech (only the ending).
Tom Brokaw's Meet the Press this week was as prosaic as ever, but for one little line uttered by the increasingly partisan Andrea Mitchell. In a discussion about the McCain VP pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, guest Doris Kerns Goodwin, plagiarist/historian, said that the choice of Palin is a "very strange choice," showing how little she bothered to even think about the facts. But the most outrageous analysis came from Mitchell who said that only uneducated, female voters will be drawn to Sarah Palin, not those smart, college educated ones.
At about 5:57 into this clip Andrea Mitchell was brought onto Meet the Press with Goodwin, David Gregory and host Tom Brokaw to tell us all that Sarah Palin will only appeal to uneducated women, not educated ones.
Another chapter in the ongoing Matthews-Olbermann feud? Yesterday, a catfight broke out between the two when Olbermann suggested Matthews had stolen an idea from two female pundits, and later made a hand gesture mocking Matthews gabbing [YouTube here, h/t Undercover Black Man]. Were the warring duo at it again this evening?
You be the judge. Click on the image to the right to view the video..
Again co-anchoring the MSNBC desk with Olbermann tonight, Matthews was just about to throw it to Luke Russert out on the convention floor. The son of the late Meet the Press anchor was interviewing young convention delegates. In light of the reported desire of both Matthews and Olbermann to grab the Meet the Press anchor chair, the opportunity to interact with Luke might be seen as a valuable plum.
Matthews appeared to be reading a script from his laptop, when he suddenly stopped. Olbermann picked up the thread and threw it to young Russert. A furious expression crossed Matthews' face and he began to shake his head and mutter, until his image was blotted out by a prominent NBC logo.
On Sunday’s Meet the Press, during an interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, NBC host Tom Brokaw brought up Barack Obama’s recent declaration at the Saddleback Forum that the question of "at what point does a baby get human rights," is "above my pay grade." After playing the relevant clip of Obama from the August 16 candidates forum, Brokaw asked of Pelosi: "Senator Obama saying the question of when life begins is above his pay grade, whether you’re looking at it scientifically or theologically. If he were to come to you and say, ‘Help me out here, Madame Speaker, when does life begin?’ what would you tell him?"
After Pelosi, labeling herself as an "ardent Catholic," avoided giving a straight answer, and contended that "over the centuries, the doctors of the Church have not been able to make that definition," Brokaw jumped in: "The Catholic Church, at the moment, feel very strongly it begins at the point of conception."
Ed Morrissey writes about Pelosi's response to Brokaw's question, and includes video here.
Politico reported moments ago that campaign manager Rick Davis has sent a strongly-worded letter to Steve Capus, president of NBC News, sharply criticizing Mitchell's suggestion that the Arizona senator had somehow cheated at Saturday's Saddleback Civil Forum.
In it, Davis expressed concern that: "the level of objectivity at NBC News has fallen so low that reporters are now giving voice to unsubstantiated, partisan claims in order to undercut John McCain;" "Mitchell did what has become a pattern for her of simply repeating Obama campaign talking points," and; NBC News was "following MSNBC's lead in abandoning non-partisan coverage of the Presidential race."
As my colleague D.S. Hube reported, Andrea Mitchell on Sunday's "Meet the Press" suggested the Obama campaign felt John McCain "may not have been in the cone of silence" during Saturday's Saddleback Civil Forum, "and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were."
Although she claimed this was being "[put] out privately" by Obama's people, CNN is now reporting that his campaign is "not pursuing whether McCain heard any of the other questions," and that they're "assuming McCain had the same information they did."
So where did Mitchell get this idea from? Might it have been a Daily Kos blog posted at 9:22 PM PDT Saturday entitled "McCain cheated? proof he knew the questions ahead of time":
SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): Defeat it. Couple of points. One, if I'm president of the United States, my friends, if I have to follow him to the gates of hell, I will get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. I will do that and I know how to do it. I will get that done.
MR. GREGORY: Andrea Mitchell, that's a pretty clear contrast.
MS. ANDREA MITCHELL: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, there was the crisp, immediate, forceful response by John McCain, clearly in a comfort zone because he was with his base. And Barack Obama, taking a risk in going there but seeing an opportunity. And a much more nuanced approach. The Obama people must feel that he didn't do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because that -- what they're putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama.
Three days after former Vice President Al Gore gave a speech outlining his plan for countering climate change, he appeared on “Meet the Press” with Tom Brokaw who lauded the former Vice President's efforts but also pressed him on his own energy usage and suggested that Americans must sacrifice in order to fight climate change.
Brokaw started off his program lauding Gore, claiming that since losing the presidency to Bush in 2000, Gore has “since focused on his environmental crusade, winning an Oscar for his documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ as well as the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. On Thursday he proposed a bold new plan to address global warming and the energy crisis.”
After Gore joined the program, Brokaw again lauded the former Vice President and showed his personal beliefs on global warming by describing him as “Nobel Laureate, Oscar winner and crusader for conservation of energy and attacking the climate change that we're all experiencing in this country.”
For many months, NewsBusters has been reporting the financial interest Nobel Laureate Al Gore has in advancing global warming hysteria, and has continually wondered when media will raise this issue to the American people.
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Gore gave host Tom Brokaw the perfect setup to ask him about his investments in renewable fuel technology when the former Vice President mentioned how much money T. Boone Pickens has put into windmill farms.
Predictably, Brokaw missed this opportunity to be the first major, mainstream media member to ask the Global Warmingist-in-Chief about his own investments, and just how much he stands to make if America does indeed shift all of its electricity production to renewable sources of energy.
Here's the exchange in question (video embedded below the fold):
On July 1, my colleague Tim Graham accurately reported how the replacement of the sadly departed Tim Russert with Tom Brokaw brought a strong liberal tilt to "Meet the Press."
On Sunday, Brokaw shamelessly proved Graham's point by actually offering a McCain-bashing television ad that Democrats should air in the fall in order to get Barack Obama in the White House.
Speaking with RNC Victory 2008 chair and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and Obama's national co-chair, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), Brokaw actually said the following (video of some of this interview added below the fold):
In his first Sunday as interim host of "Meet the Press," retired NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw suggested he would lean strongly to the left this year. He lamented the presence of "scurrilous things about Barack Obama out on the blogosphere." He asked a series of questions about "climate change," suggesting it’s a "wise decision" to have a ban on new coal-driven power plants. His only Tim Russert-style block of text was New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's denunciation of President Bush’s "massive, fraudulent, pathetic excuse for an energy policy." The only surprise was asking Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter if the Democratic platform would favor abortion again, noting Ritter was "anti-abortion." But as Ritter touted himself as a "great example" of his party’s diversity on abortion, Brokaw ignored Ritter’s liberal-pleasing record on abortion.
Brokaw’s first guests were Gov. Bill Ritter of Colorado and Gov. Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming. Brokaw worried that the people of Wyoming might be swayed by scurrilous rumors about Obama: "There's been some scurrilous things about Barack Obama out on the blogosphere. When you announced your endorsement, did you hear any of that in Wyoming, or did you hear from bloggers who are not happy with him, either as a result of his political positions, they've attacked his name and even raised questions about his faith?"
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, during a roundtable discussion of Barack Obama's running mate possibilities, correspondent Andrea Mitchell argued that one of the "minuses" for Obama choosing former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn would be that Nunn is "anathema to the gay and lesbian community" as she seemed to portray the "young Bill Clinton" as a victim who had the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military "shoved down his throat" by Nunn and then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell in 1993. Mitchell: "Minuses: He is anathema to the gay and lesbian community because of 'Don't ask, don't tell.' He's tried to moderate his position, but it was he and Colin Powell who shoved that down the young Bill Clinton's throat in 1993, as a new President. So there are large Democratic interest groups who would rebel at the convention if Sam Nunn were the nominee." (Transcript follows)
What made Tim Russert different, and better, I think was his willingness to listen to -- and take seriously -- criticism about his own profession. He was willing, for example, to keep an open mind about a hot-button issue like media bias -- an issue that so many of his colleagues dismiss as the delusions of right-wing media haters.
Goldberg recalled that when he wrote Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, “no one in network television wanted to discuss the issue, no matter how many Middle Americans thought it was important.” But “Russert was the lone exception. He had me on his CNBC interview show, and we talked about bias for a full hour.” (Screen captures here and below are from that interview on the February 23, 2002 edition of Russert's CNBC show.)
The sudden and shocking death of NBC's Tim Russert brought an outpouring of kindness and generosity. The deluge of coverage suggested Russert had become a very central figure in the media-political complex. He was much better known than about 500 members of Congress, and had more political clout than about that many as well. Not enough people have wondered how the un-elected media have gained so much power and influence in the nation's capital. For our part, we hailed Russert's tough but fair questioning first in 1993, when he was asking tough questions about Bill Clinton's first big tax hike. From the August 1993 edition of MediaWatch:
NBC Meet the Press host Tim Russert has added historical perspective to the budget debate by comparing the Clinton plan to the 1990 deal. On June 27, he grilled Budget Director Leon Panetta: "You raised taxes, the economy went further into recession, and there was no deficit reduction. Why is it going to be different in `92 when it didn't work in `90?" Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen received the same welcome on July 25. "1990. Congress got together with the President, raised taxes, cut defense, tried to limit Medicare growth, promised a $500 billion dollar deficit reduction....The deficit went up. Why isn't the same going to happen this year?"
A few moments ago, NBC News reported that "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert passed away this afternoon. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Russert family and his extended family at NBC News.
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell has issued the following statement:
Whenever I’ve been asked to give examples of a fair, balanced and honest journalist, Tim Russert’s name was the first name that came to mind. This was a view shared by everyone and the ultimate testimony to his professionalism. As a moderator he was in a league of his own, always knowing when to speak and when to let his guests do the talking. As an individual he was an absolute class act, and always a gentleman. The world of journalism is vastly diminished today.
For well over a year, NewsBusters has been reporting the media's almost romantic obsession with Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama.
This unprofessional infatuation eventually became so obvious that press members themselves have been openly discussing it for the past couple of months.
With this in mind, conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin absolutely skewered two of the most obvious Obama lovers during his program Wednesday, describing the "slobbering" that happens when "the news in this country is turned over to politicians, or the staffers of politicians."
Playing audio clips of NBC's Tim Russert and MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Levin accurately demonstrated how the sycophantic adoration exhibited by the press for the junior senator from Illinois during this campaign is a bias and a journalistic disgrace likely worse than anything Americans have ever witnessed concerning a presidential candidate.
FNC's Brit Hume highlighted Monday night how Scott McClellan's original book proposal, posted Saturday by the Politico, “promised to be quote 'supportive of the President' and take a penetrating look at how the liberal media slant their coverage of him.” Interviewing McClellan on Sunday's Meet the Press, Tim Russert highlighted the proposal and declared: “That's not the book you wrote.” (Matt Sheffield's Monday post on the Politco's discovery, “McClellan Originally Wanted to Attack Media, Defend Bush.”)
In his “Grapevine” item, Hume relayed how “McClellan writes that while many recent books have portrayed President Bush in a negative light, he would take a different approach, quote: 'I will directly address myths that have been associated with him, some deliberately perpetuated by activist liberals and some created by the media'” and:
I will look at what is behind the media hostility toward the President and his administration, and how much of it is rooted in a liberal bias.
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd said Sunday that Hillary Clinton blaming her campaign woes on gender bias is "poppycock" that is "very damaging to feminism," and that the former first lady "has a history of covering up her own mistakes behind sexism."
As this appears likely to be an important issue for Democrats to resolve in the months before Election Day, Sunday's "Meet the Press" devoted a great deal of time to the matter during its most recent installment (file photo right).
After showing some video clips of the Clintons separately discussing how sexism has been a part of the campaign, host Tim Russert said, "Maureen Dowd, misogynist, gender bias, it seems as though the Clintons are being, trying very hard to lay that out as a premise for Hillary Clinton's difficulties in this primary contest."
My two cents say George Stephanopoulos gave Hillary a harder time than Tim Russert did Obama during their respective appearances on This Week and Meet the Press today. Russert never pinned Obama down on exactly what he knew of Rev. Wright's most controversial assertions and when he knew it.
Over on ABC, Stephanopoulos twice challenged Hillary to name a single economist who supported her proposal for a gas-tax holiday, and threw in her face the fact that even her big admirer in economist ranks, Paul Krugman of the NY Times, has criticized her over it. In exposing her inability to name a single practitioner of the dismal science who supported her plan [McCain, who's also called for a gas-tax holiday would presumably be similarly hard-pressed], Stephanopoulos left Clinton looking like a panderer. Stephanopoulos raised the issue right out of the box.
Near the end of Sunday's Meet the Press, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell boldly stated that racism has been a "real factor" in the Obama vote on the ground in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Apparently, because many voters are racist, they have a "willingness to believe totally erroneous things about Obama," like he didn't put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. (Ahem, Andrea, there's photographic evidence of that "totally erroneous" charge.)
Let me just say something from being on the ground in Pennsylvania and in Ohio. I think racism is a real factor here. I don't think it's being polled correctly because I don't think it can be polled correctly. I think it is what you see in some of his failure to connect with a particular sector of the electorate.
For a moment, let's step away from the commentary, per se, and focus on the commentators. Liberals love to chide Fox News for its alleged conservative bias. So why don't we see, when it comes to being fair and balanced, how this morning's Fox News Sunday panel stacked up against that of its main competitor, Meet the Press?
Never mind nightly TV newscasts are geared toward older generation. Never mind scandals like Dan Rather and the falsified National Guard documents leading up to the 2004 presidential elections have caused people to look for their news from other sources like the Internet and talk radio.
"[B]ut there were so few [good TV news writers] because we became dependent on pictures and that coupled with deregulation of television, when you had three, four networks - and suddenly, there are 20, then there are 50 and now there are 300 and however many - 500," he said. "And as a consequence, the pie that used to be sliced three or four ways is now slivers and as a consequence, everybody is trying to hold on to their little audience and to do that, you got to entertain."
In all the brouhaha last week over the incendiary comments made by Barack Obama's pastor the media seemed to forget to partake in their traditional Holy Week Christian-bashing excercise. There were a few entries in the "Easter Hit Parade," like the Comedy Central show "Root of All Evil" which my boss, Brent Bozell, wrote about in a column recently, and an episode of "Law and Order" which featured another Christian-stones-someone storyline.
I suppose it's good news that there was less faith flagellation courtesy of the liberal media, and yet at the same time it's sad that I was expecting to find it at Easter time. But the fact remains that Christmas and Easter are generally times when the media attacks on Christians are more pronounced.
"Meet the Press" host Tim Russert asked Bartiromo and CNBC's Erin Burnett if Bernanke was "up to the task" to take on problems with the U.S. economy. Bartiromo didn't blame the Fed chief for the current economic environment, but defended Bernanke and said the foundation of the housing problems was in place prior to his tenure.
"I really don't think you can blame Ben Bernanke for this, Tim," Bartiromo said. "You know, I think that he is, as Erin said, throwing the kitchen sink, doing a lot at this point. And remember, he's a new chairman. You know, so what was put in place before he was actually in this role has set us up for this."
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Newsweek editor Jon Meacham hinted that if the Clintons were to execute a "corrupt bargain" which gave Hillary the nomination, it could lead to a split in the Democrat Party akin to what happened in 1824.
In that election, only one Party, the Democratic-Republicans, ran presidential candidates. Although Andrew Jackson won the most popular and electoral votes, he didn't receive a majority of either resulting in the House of Representatives controversially giving the nod to John Quincy Adams.
This skirmish led to a division in the Democratic-Republican Party such that four years later, Jackson ran and won the presidency as a member of the newly created Democratic Party defeating Adams who represented the newly created National Republican Party.
With this in mind, here's what Meacham said Sunday:
If Hillary Clinton's latest gambit--floating Obama as her VP--were a play not a ploy, and the Today crew the theater critics, they would have left at intermission to begin penning a blistering pan.
Interviewing Tim Russert, Matt Lauer kicked off the kicking around of Hillary's idea.
MATT LAUER: Let's talk about this idea. Is it being floated seriously? Is this light-hearted, and who's behind it?
TIM RUSSERT: Well the Clintons are behind it, and New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin said today that he talked to a Clintonista who said it's an attempt to belittle Barack Obama, that if they can suggest that he can be Vice-President, it's an indication that who should be President?
LAUER: Yeah, but couldn't it backfire? I mean, he's ahead in the delegate count, she needs a miracle. Might it not come off as ignorant, or arrogant, not to be too harsh?
On Sunday's Meet the Press, this exchange stuck out for me, where Hillary Clinton endorser Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania, expressed anxiety that Barack Obama could win the big states that lead to an Electoral College win. But wait, didn't Hillary favor abolishing the Electoral College in 2000? Yes, she did, at least grudgingly. Here's today's exchange:
MR. RUSSERT: Governor Rendell, if, in fact, Barack Obama goes to the convention in Colorado in August with the most elected delegates, having won more contests and a higher popular vote, the cumulative vote, could he be denied the nomination?
GOV. RENDELL: Well, sure, Tim, because, number one, Hillary Clinton has won states with about 260 electoral votes. Barack Obama has won states with about 190. And we decide the presidency not by a popular vote, we decide it by the electoral vote. And the traditional role of the superdelegates is to determine who's going to be our strongest candidate.
During Tuesday night’s presidential debate, NBC’s Tim Russert tried to test the Democratic candidates’ basic knowledge of foreign policy, asking what they knew about the man who will almost certainly be elected president of Russia in Sunday’s elections. After Hillary Clinton gave a general answer that kept referring to “Putin’s handpicked successor,” Russert pounced: “Do you know his name?”
But if the fact that Dmitry Medvedev will assume the Russian presidency is actually important, Russert and his co-moderator, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, have utterly ignored it as journalists. A Nexis search shows just one reference to Medvedev on NBC, an April 14, 2007 story about Russia’s giant energy company, Gazprom, of which Medvedev was chairman of the board. (The story aired on a weekend, when Lester Holt, not Brian Williams, was in the anchor chair.)