Here’s something I bet you never imagined someone saying on MSNBC: “This [administration] is the most hostile to the media that has been in United States history.”
Yet there was syndicated columnist and former CNN correspondent Bob Franken saying so on Saturday’s MSNBC Live (video follows with transcript and commentary):
T.J. HOLMES, SUBSTITUTE HOST: Bob, you covered the White House for a long time. You’ve been around, and you were shaking your head there the whole time and wanting to chime in. What is it?
BOB FRANKEN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, let's use the "P" word here. This is propaganda when it comes from the White House: government covering the government. It’s not what you’re supposed to do in the United States of America. But we have an administration, every president gets to the point where he dislikes the press. It’s that simple. And every administration tries to manipulate the press. But this is the most hostile to the media that has been in United States history. Not only do we have this thing where they’re…
Watch a surprised T.J. Holmes predictably push back:
HOLMES: Wait, you would go that far?
FRANKEN: I would go that far.
HOLMES: The most hostile in history?
FRANKEN: The most hostile because first of all, we have the situation where they are in fact shutting out the press. And by the way, when they say you can't have every photographer in, they know full-well that there's a thing called a pool, which is to say you have one representative from each of the media that represents all of them and shares the pictures and the sound and all that kind of thing. So that's totally disingenuous, which is a polite word.
But the reason I say most hostile is because of the Justice Department moves that they've made against the press. Obviously they have a contempt for the journalistic process. Those of us who are in journalism, of course, believe that it is vital if you're going to have informed electorate as opposed to one that’s been propagandized.
If only this discussion had addressed the media's role - particularly MSNBC's! - in propagandizing the nation. That really would have been extraordinary.
That said, one has to wonder if Franken will ever be invited back.