NBC's Gregory Frets Over U.S. 'Hypocrisy' in Standing Up to Russia

On Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory touted the United Nations slamming the "human rights record" of the U.S. as it condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine: "You know, when we deal with Vladimir Putin, this issue of hypocrisy comes up....The United Nations pointedly criticized the U.S.'s human rights record over drone strikes, NSA surveillance, the death penalty." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Turning to Democratic Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, Gregory worried: "Does it make it hard to deal with the likes of Putin and Lavrov when you've got the U.N. criticizing the U.S. that way?"

Durbin replied: "Listen, there are plenty imperfections in every government of every nation. But look at what we have here. Putin – this is the – I think the single most serious act of aggression since the Cold War....Now, are we going to stand by and say this is acceptable conduct? Because this isn't the end of his ambition. He'll go as far as we let him go."

Moments later Flake rejected Gregory's concern: "There's no way you can have some moral equivalency of what Putin is doing and what we've done in the past."

On the March 2 Meet the Press, Gregory seemed to defend Obama's poor handling of the Ukranian crisis by bashing George W. Bush: "Look, part of the Bush era that a lot of people recoiled against was the idea of talking tough and projecting American power as if some how feeling better about that makes the world better."

On the March 3 Today show, New Yorker Editor David Remnick claimed the U.S. lacked the "historical leverage" to protest the Russian invasion because "Invading countries is something the United States knows about from really raw experience."


Here is a transcript of the March 16 Meet the Press exchange:

10:52 AM ET

(...)

DAVID GREGORY: You know, when we deal with Vladimir Putin, this issue of hypocrisy comes up. And the United Nations spoke of this, this week. The United Nations pointedly criticized the U.S.'s human rights record over drone strikes, NSA surveillance, the death penalty. Does it make it hard to deal with the likes of Putin and Lavrov when you've got the U.N. criticizing the U.S. that way?

SEN. DICK DURBIN [D-IL]: Listen, there are plenty imperfections in every government of every nation. But look at what we have here. Putin – this is the – I think the single most serious act of aggression since the Cold War.

GREGORY: Mm-Hm.

DURBIN: He ended up the final ceremony at the Sochi Olympics, which you're network covered, trying to make it a charm offensive for the world that this is a modern Russian nation. And within hours he's invading one of his neighbors, sending the same troops that were protecting the athletes at Sochi into the Crimea. Now, are we going to stand by and say this is acceptable conduct? Because this isn't the end of his ambition. He'll go as far as we let him go.

GREGORY: But how do you change the calculation? That's what I still don't see.

SEN. JEFF FLAKE [R-AZ]: Speaking of the U.N., what's important is what happened yesterday, when the U.S. and the Security Council – with China actually abstaining, not siding with Russia – actually voting to condemn what happened. That's important. What resolutions in the General Assembly or whatever are less important, certainly. And there's no way you can have some moral equivalency of what Putin is doing and what we've done in the past.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC