Tom Brokaw had his Pauline Kael moment on MSNBC this morning. Though the story might be apocryphal, the late New Yorker film critic is famously credited with saying she was shocked by Nixon's 1972 victory, since everybody she knew had voted for McGovern.
Here's Brokaw on today's "Morning Joe," discussing the importance of the upcoming debates.
TOM BROKAW: Debates should be judged on two big counts: tonal and substance. You know, are you comfortable with this person? Look, everybody believes that on debating points, John Kerry probably beat George Bush, the 43rd, the last time around. But people liked Bush.
Last week was a fabulous one for all those fighting liberal media bias.
On Wednesday, the crowd at the Republican National Convention spontaneously chanted "NBC, NBC" when vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin complained about how she was being portrayed by the press.
Days later, while recording "The Chris Matthews Show" to be aired on Sunday, NBC's Andrea Mitchell changed her mind about the Palin pick, and declared it an A-plus decision by Republican presidential nominee John McCain.
Sunday morning interviews with Barack Obama and Joe Biden on ABC's "This Week" and NBC's "Meet the Press" respectively were uncharacteristically hard-hitting and fact-based as opposed to the sycophancy the nation has been witnessing for many months.
And finally, on Sunday evening, it was announced that MSNBC was replacing election coverage co-anchors Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann with David Gregory. This raises an important question:
In case you missed it, MSNBC has decided to replace its election coverage co-anchors Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann with David Gregory.
Having followed Matthews career since his days with the San Francisco Examiner, and watched his ascendence at CNBC and MSNBC resulting from the success of "Hardball," I wonder why he got the boot along with Olbermann.
After all, regardless of Matthews' clear liberal leaning, this disturbing leftward shift by MSNBC in recent years is certainly due to the success of Olbermann's "Countdown." NBC News and MSNBC officials have intimated such for months (continued below the fold, photo courtesy Wall Street Journal).
You can now count NBC's Andrea Mitchell among the increasing group of people that believe Sarah Palin was a good choice to be John McCain's running mate.
On Sunday's "The Chris Matthews Show," Mitchell, who last week felt Palin was not a good choice, told Matthews and his panel that the Alaska Governor gave an "A-plus" speech on Wednesday night, under extreme pressure, and that has led her to now view this decision by McCain as a good "tactical move for this campaign in broadening its appeal, reaching out to women, reaching out to men, and reaching out to average, middle class swing voters."
This from a woman who in the past couple of months has oftentimes looked just as in the tank for Barack Obama as her colleagues at MSNBC. Yet, Obama-sycophancy wasn't her modus operandi Sunday as the money interaction between Mitchell and Matthews demonstrated:
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).
On Friday's "Today" show, reporter David Gregory and other NBC personalities offered a sour and largely negative reaction to John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. Deriding the Bush years, Gregory asserted that after McCain's nomination, the party faced a "daunting challenge," How will the candidate "overcome the record of Republican rule over much of the past eight years?"
The network journalist also featured footage of former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson knocking the speech as "typical for a Republican" and "pretty disappointing." He criticized the candidate for not doing enough outreach to moderates. A theme repeated throughout the show was attacking McCain for not going out of his way to play up differences with the Republican delegates in the Minneapolis convention center. Gregory chided, "Yet in front the party faithful, the Arizona senator declined to mention his signature stands that most angered his party: campaign finance and immigration reform, as well as climate change."
Hard to believe, but Meredith Vieira is apparently not a regular NewsBusters reader. The Today co-anchor would otherwise have avoided an embarrassing lapse. On Today this morning, Vieira claimed that it was only "blogs" that went after Sarah Palin's family matters. That left her vulnerable to McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt's zinger, pointing out that one of her own network's anchors had questioned Palin's ability to serve as vice-president while attending to her children' needs.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Moments before Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin gave her history making speech at the Xcel Energy Center Wednesday, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told NewsBusters that the left-wing media are trying to destroy her because she represents a threat to their ability to define what a successful, professional woman is in America today.
Offering some of the strongest media criticisms we've encountered at the Republican National Convention, Gingrich painted a picture of exactly what's at stake for the liberal press if Palin is successful in her bid to become the first female vice president in American history, and that people should not underestimate what they are willing to do to prevent that from happening (video embedded right):
All three network news anchors appeared together on each of the morning shows on Thursday and blithely dismissed the notion that members of the media have shown bias and sexist attitudes in response to Sarah Palin's nomination for vice president. "World News" host Charles Gibson, who visited along with NBC's Brian Williams and CBS's Katie Couric, told "Today" host Meredith Vieira that the role of a journalist is "to raise these questions." "It's not based on politics. It is simply- those are the questions you ask," he touted.
"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric acted as though the entire concept baffled her. "...But when you think of media these days, I mean, what does that mean exactly," she wondered. Placing blame on bloggers, she added, "In this case, it now means thousands and thousands of internet bloggers, partisan reporters and so I think you can't paint the media with a, with a broad brush."
Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden made the morning show rounds on Thursday to respond to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s convention speech, and journalists at NBC, MSNBC, ABC and CNN all encouraged Biden to strongly confront his Republican counterpart, as if Palin has been enjoying some sort of honeymoon from criticism over the past few days.
CNN’s John Roberts pressed Biden: “Before her speech last night you said that you were not going to attack Governor Palin. Are you feeling a little differently this morning?”
NBC’s Matt Lauer similarly pleaded: “Sarah Palin made a speech last night...It was tough. It was direct, hard words for Senator Obama. I’m curious, has this taken away any concern you may have had about tone or words you choose in the coming weeks?”
Subtract the subdued demeanor and the good tailoring, and how much difference is there between Brian Williams and Keith Olbermann? Take Williams' post-Palin speech analysis. Was the Nightly News anchor suggesting Palin's appeal is rooted in racism? He certainly made a clarion call to his fellow MSMers to keep up the good fight against her. Ann Curry interviewed a woman delegate who described Palin as "the American woman . . . who's had all the experiences that we have."
When it came Williams' turn to comment, he twisted the delegate's words into an invidious comparison between Palin and Barack Obama. Williams seemed perhaps to be suggesting Palin was appealing to racism.
Less than an hour after reporter David Gregory incorrectly huffed on Wednesday's "Today" show that the media have not questioned whether Sarah Palin can balance motherhood with serving as vice president, NBC correspondent Amy Robach explicitly did just that during a segment on how moms were reacting to the Alaska governor. Operating under a loaded either/or premise, she derided, "The broader question if Sarah Palin becomes vice president, will she be shortchanging her kids or will she be shortchanging the country?"
Labeling the segment "the mommy wars," Robach, a former beauty pageant contestant, went on point out that Palin is running despite having an infant child with Down's Syndrome and a pregnant 17-year-old daughter. She asserted that "the news has sparked both pride and condemnation." Robach also featured New York Times writer Jodi Kantor, who authored a piece on the subject in the September 2 edition of the paper. In a clip, Kantor discussed the fact that Palin went back to work only a few days after giving birth this past April. According to the journalist, "fellow mothers" found this "a little bit hard to fathom, a little bit hard to identify with."
Unlike the celebratory response to the opening nights of the Democratic convention a week ago, the three network morning shows offered restrained recaps of Tuesday night’s speeches at the Republican convention, and continued to portray Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a liability for the GOP ticket.
On Wednesday’s Today, NBC’s David Gregory had the GOP taking “swipes at Senator Obama’s limited experience” and described Fred Thompson’s speech as a “hard-edged attack on Senator Obama.”
But a week earlier, Gregory described Hillary Clinton’s speech as “rousing” and “playful,” and offered no negative adjectives as he replayed soundbites of Clinton attacking John McCain:
On Wednesday's "Today," NBC reporter David Gregory, against all evidence, suggested that the media have not questioned whether Sarah Palin will be able to balance being both vice president and a mother. Referencing a earlier interview in which McCain surrogate Rudy Giuliani attacked reporters for doing exactly that, Gregory huffed, "That question has not been brought up by the media." "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira parroted, "Exactly."
However, on August 30, "Good Morning America" weekend co-host Bill Weir challenged a McCain spokesman: "Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the Senator, and the Governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?" On August 29, CNN "Newsroom" anchor John Roberts sniffed, "The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child."
Also on August 29, the Washington Post's Sally Quinn whined in a column, "Is she prepared for the all-consuming nature of the job?...Her first priority has to be her children. When the phone rings at three in the morning and one of her children is really sick what choice will she make?" Not only have members of the media discussed this subject, they've done so repeatedly and with great enthusiasm. So, is David Gregory somehow unaware of this fact or was he simply being disingenuous?
It seems that media and Obama surrogates' (but I repeat myself) trash-talking and demonizing have lowered expectations of Sarah Palin's speech tonight to the "Can she get out a complete sentence?" level.
My sense is that this will work to her advantage, bigtime.
Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann began to poignantly patch things up two nights ago. But there's clearly still mucho trabajo to be done to heal the rift between Joe Scarborough and the temperamental Countdown host. Readers will recall that during the Dem convention, Olbermann was caught [accidentally on purpose?] on an open mic suggesting Scarborough "get a shovel" for his failure to toe a sufficiently pro-Obama line.
On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough took a thinly-veiled shot at Olbermann for the way he tried to keep Republican analyst Mike Murphy off the air, and then tried to pull the plug ["let's wrap him up, alright?"] when Murphy eventually made it into an interview with Chris Matthews.
Pat Buchanan was the sole voice on today's opening-hour panel to opine that Fred Thompson had done a good job with his speech last night. In contrast, Scarborough suggested Thompson had been flat. Pat expressed his feelings of alienation as the show was going to a break. It was then that Joe and Mika let Buchanan know that—in contrast with other MSNBC venues—dissident voices were welcome on Morning Joe.
Sarah Palin's presumed lack of qualifications and the assumed failure of the McCain campaign to adequately vet her consumed much of the ABC, CBS and NBC prime time hour Tuesday on the Republican convention. CBS's Katie Couric was the most aggressive. A flustered Couric demanded to know from McCain adviser Steve Schmidt how anyone could possibly “compare” Palin's public service with the more experienced Obama: “How can you compare those two?”
When Tim Pawlenty later made the same assertion, Couric shot back: “Well, that’s according to Republican talking points.” She also contended questions about Palin “call into question the vetting process” as she complained: “Why are these kind of things coming out in kind of a drip, drip, drip fashion?” With Pawlenty, Couric, who last week never wondered if the liberal ticket would dissuade anyone, portrayed Palin as some sort of alien creature:
She is against abortion, even in the case of rape or incest. She wants creationism taught in schools. Do you worry that her selection might be a turnoff to some wavering Democrats and independents who might consider supporting John McCain?
ABC devoted an entire segment to its panel of Diane Sawyer, Charles Gibson, George Stephanopoulos, Matthew Dowd and Tori Clarke speculating about bad vetting and Palin undermining a McCain theme. Gibson proposed: “There were signs all over Denver, put up by Republicans, saying 'Not Ready '08.' Have they totally throw that argument away? And do they regret losing it, do you think?” Dowd confirmed: “I think they've totally thrown it away...”
Appearing on Tuesday's "Today" show, Republican strategist Mary Matalin slammed the media for its "hair-on-fire" coverage of Sarah Palin's selection as the Republican vice presidential nominee of John McCain. In particular, she corrected a previous segment by David Gregory which asserted that the Alaska governor had hired an attorney to defend herself against an ethics probe into possible attempts to dismiss a state trooper.
Matalin asserted to host Matt Lauer that it wasn't true "that she's hired a lawyer to deal with this trooper issue. The attorney general, state attorney general hired the lawyer." She forcefully added, "That's what they do for the governor. She's an open book on this thing. The press is reacting to these things in sort of a hair-on-fire way because she's new." In his report, Gregory had incorrectly asserted, that Palin "revealed" she had hired the lawyer.
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.
Just as my colleague Brent Baker found on Friday night, the big broadcast networks on Saturday morning showed no shyness about labeling Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin a “conservative,” with NBC Today co-host Amy Robach calling her “a staunch conservative,” CBS’s Chip Reid tagging her “reliably conservative,” and ABC’s Kate Snow finding Palin to be “quite conservative.”
But seven days earlier, as those same programs reacted to the Obama campaign’s text message heralding Joe Biden as the Democratic vice presidential candidate, none of those broadcast found a moment to call him “liberal,” in spite of Biden’s lengthy record of liberal votes as determined by the nonpartisan National Journal.
Here’s a quick rundown of how the three broadcast networks emphasized Palin’s ideology on their August 30 programs:
While NBC's Matt Lauer took pains to label John McCain's vice presidential nominee a "staunch" and "stalwart" conservative on Friday, all three network morning shows almost entirely avoided any ideological descriptors for Senators Obama, Biden and the major liberal speakers during the just completed August 25 to 28 Democratic National Convention.
Some of the individuals at the convention included Al Gore, Senator Ted Kennedy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, all politicians with an obvious leftward tilt. The only exception to the liberal label blackout included references by NBC's "Today" and CBS's "Early Show" on Tuesday when various reporters affectionately referred to Kennedy as the "liberal lion," of the Senate, a clear term on endearment. (ABC's "Good Morning America" used the word "lion" in regards to Kennedy, but not "liberal.") This foreshadows a Republican National Convention, September 1 to the 4, a period where John McCain and Sarah Palin will very likely be labeled "conservative" many times.
Just minutes after the news arrived that John McCain had selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate on Friday, "Today" host Matt Lauer broke into regular coverage and began labeling her as a "staunch conservative" and a "stalwart conservative." The "Today" show has, thus far, avoided using ideological labels for Barack Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, during this week's Democratic convention.
And although many members of the media have resisted pointing out Obama's inexperience, Lauer immediately seized on the subject for Palin and used Quayle-like "heartbeat away" terminology: "We have a 72 year-old nominee of the Republican Party and the vice presidency...This is a position of a heart beat away and how are people going to feel about Sarah Palin in that situation?" NBC political director Chuck Todd replied by asserting how McCain is "rolling the dice on this. He's absolutely gambling."
After each of the firstthreenights of the Democratic convention, network news reporters have offered enthusiastically positive reviews, and Friday morning’s coverage of Barack Obama’s acceptance address made it a clean sweep. CBS Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, the only morning show host still in Denver, said he felt the earth moving. “This place rumbled....The stadium was just so alive, and the ground was almost quaking,” he told co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez.
Rodriguez voiced pity for John McCain: “Harry, I found myself at one point last night thinking how difficult it must be for John McCain to watch such a huge celebration in honor of his opponent, especially on the eve of his 72nd birthday.”
The department announced August 28 the economy grew at 3.3 percent in the second quarter of 2008, up from initial reports of 1.9 percent. The revised number exceeded expectations for growth, which economists had put at around 2.3 percent.
But to announce the good economic news - the growth was well above the 1.9-percent average quarterly growth over the last two years - would have undercut one of the main themes of Sen. Barack Obama's speech accepting the Democrats' presidential nominations: an economy in turmoil.
"We meet at one of those defining moments - a moment when our nation is at war, our economy in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more," Obama told the crowd of more than 80,000 Democrats at Invesco Field in the Denver.
Television journalists were nearly uniformly enthralled with Barack Obama's Thursday night acceptance speech, relieved he showed the toughness to take on John McCain directly, unlike, in their world view, all too-soft past Democratic nominees. Only FNC offered a contrarian view or mentioned the word “liberal” while David Gergen on CNN trumpeted the address as a “symphony” and a “masterpiece” with elements of Lincoln, MLK and Reagan.
ABC's Charles Gibson insisted that “four years ago John Kerry” was “held accountable for not being tough enough on George Bush,” and “Obama was obviously not going to make that mistake.”
On CNN, Gloria Borger decided: “If anybody ever thought that Barack Obama was not tough enough to run against John McCain, this speech should really put an end to that.”
ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS’s Early Show led the praise for the third night of the Democratic convention, with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos enthralled by how well it was going for Democrats. “I think every night in this convention has built on the one that came before,” he exclaimed Thursday morning, adding: “The speeches have gotten better every night.”
[Check here and here for a re-cap of how the morning shows drooled over the first two nights of the Democratic convention.]
CBS co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez, who isn’t even in Denver but rather back in The Early Show’s New York studios, touted how Obama’s speech at Denver’s football stadium suggested “they're going to play the Super Bowl of politics there tonight.” She enthusiastically remarked: “If the crowd went as wild as it did yesterday at the Pepsi Center when he [Barack Obama] showed up, just imagine what 75,000 screaming fans will sound like. It's going to be something.”
Rarely do the media put their institutional political bias on public display, but this past weekend, America's news industry titans left no doubt that they're fully behind one of the nation's most radical cultural and political movements.
ABC, AP, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the corporate owners of USA Today, the Miami Herald, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Sacramento Bee, The Dallas Morning News and many other newspapers, all spent thousands of dollars sponsoring the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association convention in Washington, D.C. Many journalists from these Big Media mainstays attended or spoke at the convention.
In the name of "diversity," all the organizations listed above ran recruiting booths, as did NPR. Thus, the nation's major news providers demonstrated that they have bought into the central proposition of homosexual activists: that people engaging in homosexuality or bisexuality, along with transsexuals, are a historically oppressed minority group deserving the same preferential treatment and legal protections that society provides to ethnic minorities and women.