On Today NBC's David Gregory Paints Bush Administration As Thought Police

<p><img vspace="4" hspace="3" border="0" align="right" src="/media/2006-01-16-NBCToday.jpg" />When the administration tried to buck up troop morale by warning that some of the war's critics go too far, NBC's David Gregory had a hissy fit and portrayed the administration as the thought police. On this morning's Today Matt Lauer introduced Gregory's piece that aired in the 7am half hour: &quot;On Close Up this morning is all fair in love and war? Not according to President Bush. The President says it's okay for Democrats to criticize the war in Iraq as long as they don't go too far.&quot; Gregory, apparently offended that someone other than the MSM or the Democrats was trying to set the agenda opened: &quot;Good morning to you Matt. Well in this election year with the debate over the war bound to intensify you said it the President is now attempting to preempt his Democratic critics by demanding that they disagree responsibly. It's the President's executive order to war critics: don't cross the line.&quot; </p><p>Gregory then offered up past White House criticism from Ari Fleischer about Bill Maher and former attorney general John Ashcroft's defense of the Patriot Act as evidence of a White House tactic to stifle free speech and aired soundbites from Democratic Senate candidate Paul Hackett and Dem Party Chair Howard Dean. </p><p>Gregory concluded: &quot;Now as the campaigning begins for the midterm election the President, once again, trying to dictate the tone and terms of the debate. Now for their part White House officials maintain that the President has never tried to silence his critics. He has even begun to admit mistakes about the planning and the execution of the war but White House officials maintain that the President is going to go after his critics and defend himself particularly when he thinks the motives of his critics are impure. Matt.&quot; </p><p>The following is a full transcript of the segment:</p><blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right: 0px;"><p>Matt Lauer: &quot;On Close Up this morning is all fair in love and war? Not according to President Bush. The President says it's okay for Democrats to criticize the war in Iraq as long as they don't go too far.&quot;</p><p>[Graphic: War of Words, Debate Hurts the Troops?]</p><p>Lauer: &quot;NBC's chief White House correspondent David Gregory has more on this story. David, good morning.&quot;</p><p>David Gregory: &quot;Good morning to you Matt. Well in this election year with the debate over the war bound to intensify you said it the President is now attempting to preempt his Democratic critics by demanding that they disagree responsibly. It's the President's executive order to war critics: don't cross the line.&quot;</p><p>[George W. Bush: &quot;What I don't like is when somebody said he lied or they're in there for oil or they're doing it 'cause of Israel.&quot;]</p><p>Gregory: &quot;Mr. Bush has targeted Democrats who voted to authorize the war but now say the case for invasion was built on lies. Speaking for many Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean.&quot;</p><p>[Howard Dean: &quot;The truth is that the President misled America when he sent us to war.&quot;]</p><p>Gregory: &quot;Mr. Bush argues there are serious consequences to defeatism among Democrats.&quot;</p><p>[George W. Bush: &quot;When our soldiers hear politicians in Washington question the mission they're risking their lives to accomplish it hurts their morale.&quot;]</p><p>Gregory: &quot;But Paul Hackett a veteran of the Iraq war and a Democrat now running for the Senate in Ohio says the President is wrong. Soldiers in Iraq, he says, debate the war just like Americans back home and their morale, according to fellow Marines still there, remains high.&quot;</p><p>[Paul Hackett: &quot;I've not heard any inclination that the morale is bad because Americans are having a political debate about how the military should be used throughout the world.&quot;]</p><p>Gregory: &quot;This White House has tried to shame its critics before. After the 9/11 attacks spokesman Ari Fleischer took aim at comedian Bill Maher for suggesting the hijackers weren't cowards.&quot;</p></blockquote>

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.