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.)
Standard-free journalism on parade all day on NBC's Sunday
Forgotten But Not GoneIt was another do-as-we-say, not-as-we-do day for the National Broadcast Company this past Sabbath.
Over the weekend NBC offered up their latest versions of Tim Russert's Meet the Press and the Chris Matthews Show -- the latter being political television's answer to Jerry Springer. In them we were treated to two more glittering examples of all that is wrong with the Jurassic Press.
That being the woeful lack of journalistic ethics demonstrated by those at the heights of the media mountain, and the utter shamelessness they and their colleagues exhibit upon their being outed as amoral hacks.
Might the MSM be miffed at the prospect of Ralph Nader making problems for the Dem candidate?
Ralph Nader will always have a place in Republicans' hearts for his yeoman work in Florida in 2000. But Democrats and the MSM apparently aren't looking so kindly on the hard-left crusader. Consider this comment from CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider [file photo] on this morning's Late Edition, commenting on Nader's announcement on today's Meet the Press that he was again running for president.
JOHN KING: Is there a niche for Ralph Nader that could actually have an impact on the race?
BILL SCHNEIDER: It's a disappearing niche. In 2000 when he ran, he got about 2.8 million votes. In 2004, he got fewer than half a million votes. I imagine anyone left who's going to vote for Ralph Nader are probably people who wouldn't vote if Ralph Nader weren't running. They're the real die-hard. He really has gone over the past eight years, back in 1996 as a green candidate. He's gone from being a revered, national icon to something of a public nuisance.
For a guy who's supposedly a savvy pol, Chuck Schumer has sure made a damning admission about the Dem presidential candidates. The senior senator from New York has suggested that their word is worthless.
On today's Meet the Press, Tim Russert quizzed Schumer about the change in heart of the Clinton campaign regarding seating delegates from Michigan. The DNC ruled last year that none of Michigan's delegates would be seated at the convention, in punishment for the state having moved up the date of its primary in violation of party rules. Hillary would now like those delegates to be seated since she "won" the primary -- in which Obama's name wasn't on the ballot.
TIM RUSSERT: Senator Schumer, Senator Clinton said in October "you know it's clear this election they're having in Michigan is not going to count for anything." Is that your position?
CHARLES SCHUMER: Well, no. Here's the bottom line once again, Tim. Each candidate of course takes the position that benefits them at the moment.
After publishing an astoundingly positive column about Republican presidential candidate John McCain Thursday, the Washington Post's David Broder must have felt the need to bash some conservatives or risk being excommunicated by his liberal friends.
Looking to make amends, Broder went on Sunday's "Meet the Press," and disparaged CPAC attendees as being "aginners" with "a limited constituency."
Yet, moments later, he returned to his McCain love-fest.
Opening for Hillary? Obama has spoken some sense on the surge . . .
Whereas Obama's claim to foreign policy fame among Dems has been his opposition from day one to the Iraq war, it appears he may have now put himself to the right of Hillary Clinton on the issue of sustaining the surge.
Readers will recall that when Tim Russert asked Clinton on Meet the Press of January 13th whether she would be open to sustaining the surge through the end of the year if General Petraeus requested it, Hillary tersely answered "No, and here's why, Tim."
But confronted with a similar hypothetical on this morning's Early Show, Obama evinced more flexibility.
As NewsBusters reported Sunday, the mainstream media in general have shied away from truly examining the racist campaign strategy recently being employed by the Clintons in their effort to defeat Barack Obama for the Democrat presidential nomination.
One huge exception is NBC's "Meet the Press," which on Sunday, with the assistance of guests Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, Chuck Todd of NBC News, and Byron York of the National Review, went a long way towards possibly ending this disgraceful race baiting by a man that used to fashion himself as being the first black president.
Regardless of what folks might think of the political leanings of Russert and Dowd in particular, all present and associated with this segment are to be enthusiastically applauded and thanked for going where few media outlets dare (partial transcript follows, video available here, relevant section begins at minute 27:25):
Have the recent race baiting antics of the Clintons left you wondering whether the former first couple has lost its collective mind, especially now that this tactic seems to be at least partially responsible for Barack Obama's landslide victory in Saturday's South Carolina primary?
Or, like most conservatives, do you believe that nothing this pair ever does is spontaneous and without advanced political calculus, and that South Carolina went exactly as Bill and Hill planned?
For those undecided, a conversation I had on Friday with a very liberal albeit astute friend of mine might shed some light.
As the subject of the current presidential race surfaced, my friend indicated that he was supporting Hillary. Knowing him to be very concerned about civil rights, I asked why he wasn't backing Obama.
Tom Brokaw says his most conservative friend has told him he might vote for Hillary Clinton. I for one believe the former NBC News anchor. Hillary supporters might indeed constitute the rightmost fringe of his friend set.
Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw dismissed Rush Limbaugh as wrong-headed on Sunday’s Meet the Press. Not only did Brokaw pound the narrative that Reaganism is dead or dying within the Republican party, with a "nomadic herd" of voters "rejecting dogma," but he said Limbaugh trying to debate which candidate is truly conservative "is not going to help the Republican party." As if Tom Brokaw was really interested in that goal. He said the country is "hungry for solutions," as if "solutions" and "conservatism" were antonyms.
Brokaw tried to claim the "nomadic" search for the non-dogmatic is "going on in the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party." Where on Earth would he get evidence for that? As Clinton, Obama, and Edwards all lurch left to secure the MoveOn/Daily Kos vote, they’re rejecting "dogma"? Here’s the exchange from a pundit’s-roundtable segment of the NBC Sunday chatfest:
What's wrong with this picture: a young, prominent, liberal blogger gets a respectable and highly-coveted position with a leading, leftwing magazine, and for some reason, can't shake himself from the vulgarity and vitriol prevalent in his past writing?
Such appears to be the case for Ezra Klein, a virtual rising star in the liberal blogosphere, who despite being on the staff of The American Prospect, still feels the need to drop an f-bomb now and again while attacking one of the nation's leading television journalists.
As reported by new blogger Unpopular Front (vulgarity warning!):
Under some fire for pounding Rudy Giuliani on Sunday’s Meet the Press with questions about a New York City security detail for his mistress, and whether it would be "appropriate" for a president to provide Secret Service protection for his mistress, Tim Russert hit NBC and MSNBC on Monday morning to defend himself and suggest that it’s essential we know what skeletons presidential candidates have in their past. But did Russert ever ask Bill Clinton about Secret Service protection for his mistresses? Russert’s interviews with Bill Clinton (especially lately) are classified under C for Chummy. Here are Russert’s mistress questions to Giuliani, followed by his defenses on Monday:
There was a truly fascinating event on Sunday's "Meet the Press" that could definitely have lasting meaning on the 2008 presidential campaign.
Not only did host Tim Russert bring up former President Bill Clinton's flip-flop on his support of the Iraq war, but also NBC's David Gregory said, "It's a reminder of what some people who don't like Hillary Clinton don't like."
Maybe Bill shouldn't have complained about how his wife was treated by Russert and Gregory during the October debate in Philadelphia.
Possibly recalling the former president's criticism, Russert started this fascinating exchange (video available here courtesy Allah):
As NBC's "Meet the Press" continues its "Meet the Candidate" series leading up to the 2008 elections, it is infinitely clear that some guests will receive different treatment than others.
Such was unquestionably apparent Sunday when host Tim Russert mercilessly pounded Democrat presidential candidate Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on a number of issues including his vote in favor of the October 2002 Iraq War resolution.
Russert presented statement after statement made by Dodd in support of the war before he became a presidential candidate, and continued to probe why the Senator's position changed so dramatically actually asking if it was due to political expediency.
Yet, five weeks ago when Russert had Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) on as his guest, her ever-evolving position on this matter wasn't nearly exposed or explored. For instance, here's the text of Russert's Dodd interview concerning Iraq (video available here, relevant section begins at 6:30):
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it -- George Satayana.
Well and good. But becoming a prisoner of the past presents dangers, too. Stay tuned for an example of how reliance on a corollary of Satayana's rule went horribly wrong for the U.S.
Maureen Dowd's column of this morning "W.M.D. in Iran? Q.E.D." is the latest example of what passes for MSM wisdom on Iran. The argument, in a nutshell: we attacked Iraq over ill-founded concerns about WMD and got bogged down. So perish the thought of using force to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
As NBC’s Today reported from Chicago on Monday, they went a little overboard in playing up Hillary’s Chicago credentials – especially her Chicago Cub fan credentials. It’s a little odd for NBC to tout her as a Cub fan just a few weeks after NBC’s Tim Russert asked her in a September 26 debate who she would root for in a potential Cubs-Yankees World Series and she straddled: "I would probably have to alternate sides." The Russert exchange was omitted from the gooey story oozing that "Not since Abraham Lincoln debated Stephen Douglas have two Illinois homegrowns drawn so much attention."
Matt Lauer welcomed viewers to Chicago and strangely and inaccurately claimed Hillary is "these days" claiming Chicago as her home: "Welcome to a split edition of our show on this Monday morning from New York and Chicago. Of course they call this place the Windy City but it's not because of the weather, it's because some long-winded politicians. And these days two very prominent politicians are calling this place home, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And that's made for some tough choices among the locals. NBC's Lee Cowan joins us now to find out if either of these people has a home-field advantage. Lee, good morning to you."
Last Sunday, NewsBusters introduced readers to Media Matters for America, the left-wing organization behind the recent smear campaigns against conservative personalities Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.
In the days that followed, although news outlets and leading Democrats continued to reference articles written by this shadowy group, few details were offered about the organization behind them, and virtually nothing was shared concerning its founder, David Brock, who in a short period of time a decade ago remarkably went from a staunch enemy of the Clintons to one of their strongest supporters.
As National Review's Jonah Goldberg wrote in Sunday's New York Post, "Brock was once a right-wing hatchet man, penning a book, ‘The Real Anita Hill,' and some articles in the American Spectator on the Clintons that for a time earned him considerable notoriety on the right and hatred on the left."
Despite the influence Media Matters currently has with the mainstream media, Brock's extraordinary political metamorphosis ten years ago, though obviously a journalist's dream, has received little recent attention from press representatives typically clamoring for such juicy dish (emphasis added throughout):
If Dems and Republicans are at odds over everything from Iraq to healthcare, there's one thing that has brought many of them together: shared criticism of the leading GOP presidential contenders for their decision to skip the recent debate moderated by Tavis Smiley, billed as oriented to the concerns of black Americans.
But beginning on yesterday's "Meet the Press" and continuing on today's "Morning Joe," Pat Buchanan has not hesitated to make a pragmatic political case in defense of the Republican candidates' decision. And alone, at least among pundits I've heard, he drew an interesting parallel to the venues the leading Dem candidate is skipping.
Democratic presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton appeared on all five Sunday morning interview shows, but not all raised two controversies of interest to conservatives and, even when they did, not all took a tough approach to her lack of condemnation of MoveOn.org's “General Betray Us” ad and the donations gathered for her by now-captured fugitive Norman Hsu. ABC's George Stephanopoulos and NBC's Tim Russert brought up both matters -- though Stephanopoulos did so in the gentlest way -- CBS's Bob Schieffer asked about Hsu and not “Betray Us,” while Fox's Chris Wallace and CNN's Wolf Blitzer skipped Hsu but raised “Betray Us.”
No one pressed Clinton on how at the hearing with General Petraeus she said his report required “the willing suspension of disbelief.” Only Wallace, on Fox News Sunday, pointed out how Clinton had voted against a Senate resolution condemning the MoveOn ad: “Senator, you have refused to criticize the MoveOn.org ad about General Petraeus. And in fact, this week you voted against a Senate resolution denouncing it.” In contrast, on ABC's This Week, Stephanopoulos presumed Clinton was disturbed by the ad as he asked: “Why not speak out earlier?” On the Hsu case, Stephanopoulos approached the issue from the concerns of other Democrats: “A lot of people look at this and say they're afraid they're going to go back to the days of 1996 when there were some campaign finance violations that many Democrats feel cost President Clinton a couple of points in the final days of the election. How do you assure them that's not going to happen again?” Only NBC's Russert, on Meet the Press, used Hsu to remind viewers of Johnny Chung's illegal 1996 donations to the Bill Clinton campaign.