It's become an annual tradition at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative for journalists to appear as Featured Attendees and moderate or speak on panel discussions. This morning's session featuring both John McCain and Barack Obama was moderated by NBC's current Meet the Press host, Tom Brokaw. CNBC's Maria Bartiromo not only speaks today, but anchors a taping for later CNBC airing of Clinton's Global Citizen Awards. The Clinton foundation announced that "CNBC is the official broadcast media partner and The Economist is the official print media partner." CNBC is also thanked for its financial "sponsorship assistance."
Also appearing on panels are New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, and perhaps unsurprisingly, former Clinton spokesman and ABC News star George Stephanopoulos (on an education panel with, among others, hip-hop musician Wyclef Jean) and former Clinton strategist David Gergen, now with CNN.
Do you think the recent stock market collapse or troubles in the banking system are good news?
Well, according to CNN's Candy Crowley, the Obama campaign does.
On Monday's "Anderson Cooper 360," after CNN senior political analyst David Gergen said "what happened over the weekend with the economy and the bottom falling out of the financial markets...is the opportunity for Obama to seize the momentum back on his side," Crowley actually said, "[J]ust as foreclosures were showing up on B-17, or in the real estate section, along comes this horrific headline out of Wall Street...I mean, this is what they wanted."
I kid you not. The transcript of this disgraceful exchange follows (video embedded right, h/t Steve Malzberg):
Just before 9:00 last night during CNN's Republican convention coverage, CNN political analyst David Gergen asserted that the liberal establishment "doesn't exist anymore," leading Republican strategist Alex Castellanos to poke back with, "I think if David Gergen thinks the liberal establishment does not exist anymore, I think he has become a part of it."
Gergen responded to Castellanos, "First of all, is there a liberal establishment in charge of Washington? I'm sorry. There has been another party that's basically been running Washington for the last eight years. If there has been a liberal establishment, it shrunk a lot and it's not right in Washington. That's a '70s concept, Alex."
The dust-up between Castellanos and Gergen occurred during an analysis of the 9/11 video shown last night in which Wolf Blitzer noted President George W. Bush's absence from the video and suggested the absence made the video more "political," leaving the door wide open for Gergen, who has served as an advisor to both Democratic and Republican White House administrations, to go after Republicans for their "selective memory" and to fret that the convention has "been so combative."
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.”
CNN senior political analyst David Gergen gushed over Al Gore’s speech at Invesco Field on Thursday evening during the network’s coverage of the Democratic convention as he urged viewers to go back and read the text:
I think the Gore speech, he -- while it was way too rushed in delivery, had an awful lot to offer, and was one of the first times anybody in this campaign has spoken seriously to the nation about the potential catastrophe coming from global warming.... I think it's really was worth for a lot of people going back and actually reading the text of Al Gore's speech.
He then mentioned Abraham Lincoln’s "brief time in politics before he became President" in an indirect reference to Barack Obama’s short political career.
Catching up on a tidbit from Monday night’s coverage, CNN co-anchor Anderson Cooper actually wondered aloud whether the evening’s line-up of Democratic speakers -- Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Jr. -- was “too liberal” to attract independent voters. Usually, the networks never even label Democratic speakers, while constantly berating Republican speakers as extreme or right-wing, so this is either a refreshing change of pace, or a sign that Democrats have gone way over the edge if even CNN is worrying about a “too liberal” convention.
Responding to that suggestion, CNN analyst David Gergen admired how “Jimmy Carter has won a Nobel Peace Prize here recently. He's one of the two Democrats speaking at this convention -- Al Gore being the other -- who won Nobel Peace Prizes. That must be a first in history.” But, previewing Democratic consultant James Carville’s complaint two hours later, Gergen decried how the Democrats “have offered almost no substance” in their convention program: “We’ve had very little that's been compelling thus far.”
On Monday night shortly after Michelle Obama finished speaking, CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin, as he expressed his disappointment that the Democrats didn’t go negative on the first night of their convention, inserted a barb against the Republicans: "...There is one big missing piece tonight I think, which is why the American people should throw the bums out. We haven't heard one word about that. We have the most unpopular President in American history, and he's barely been mentioned tonight. I just think that is an extraordinary gap...." He further explained that "Democrats have never shown, at least in recent history, that they are good at negative campaigning. Republicans are terrific at it, and Democrats have been lousy at it, and I don't think they were any good at it tonight."
CNN is suddenly backtracking from a report it made early Sunday evening concerning Hillary Clinton releasing her delegates to Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday.
During the 6PM EDT installment of "CNN Newsroom," Rick Sanchez announced the "breaking news" that was later posted at the network's website under the headline "Clinton to Release Her Delegates to Obama."
Yet, just moments ago, that headline was changed to "Clinton Likely to Release Her Delegates to Obama," with alterations inside the opening paragraph.
Last night the Reverend Rick Warren questioned Barack Obama and John McCain at California's Saddleback Church. Post forum coverage at CNN was hosted by network chief national correspondent John King.
He began by asking CNN senior political analyst Candy Crowley and network congressional correspondent Dana Bash for their impressions. Crowley found McCain to have been "very direct" while Bash observed the GOP candidate addressed the audience rather than Warren. Both stated that Obama was "nuanced" in his answers.
When King asked Bill Schneider, another CNN senior political analyst, for his take on the event, the word of the day shifted from nuanced to thoughtful:
Campbell Brown, filling in for Anderson Cooper, led CNN's 10 PM EDT hour Monday evening by letting viewers in on her excitement over Al Gore's endorsement of Barack Obama earlier in the evening: “Tonight, everybody, he blew the roof off the joint. Al Gore, one of the last big-name Democrats, getting behind Barack Obama in a big way, making a speech that could have won him the White House if he'd been making this kind of speech eight years ago.” In highlights of the speech CNN soon aired, Gore charged: “After eight years in which our Constitution has been dishonored and disrespected, we need change!”
Turning to a panel of CNN's Candy Crowley and Gloria Borger as well as David Gergen, Brown, who jumped to CNN from NBC last year, yearned: “Do you think there is any chance that we might see an Obama-Gore ticket?” Not dampened by doubts he would want the VP slot, Brown pressed Gergen on another role for Gore and then conceded she sounded like “I want it just too badly.” The exchange:
BROWN: Even if it was pitched to him perhaps as an opportunity to kind of be, I think it was James Carville who suggested it, energy czar, you know, to expand the role, the traditional role of Vice President, and to make the issues that he cares most passionately about center stage for him and let him take those issues and run with it?
GERGEN: Not going to happen, Campbell.
BROWN: Do I sound like I want it just too badly here, David? It's a good story.
"Change We Can Believe In" is the new "I Have a Dream," that is, if you ask the crew at CNN.
During Tuesday’s live election coverage, CNN reporters and analysts gushed over Barack Obama’s speech, comparing it to those of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln as well as praising Obama for his graciousness towards Hillary Clinton.
Leading up to Obama’s speech, Anderson Cooper announced: "An extraordinary moment for Barack Obama, for his wife, Michelle Obama, for all of those supporters, not only gathered in that, in that stadium tonight, but people watching around the country, even those who may not support Barack Obama certainly taking this moment to reflect on the historic nature of what is happening on this evening."
CNN senior political analyst (and former Clinton adviser) David Gergen, responding to Todd Purdum’s recent Vanity Fair article on Bill Clinton during a segment on Monday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," acknowledged that the former President "does have a temper, and he goes off like Mount Vesuvius," but then went on to criticize Purdum’s article, that it "does not give enough weight to what he has done in the non-profit sector," specifically referring to the Clinton Global Initiative.
Clinton had called Purdum a "scumbag," "sleazy," and a "really dishonest reporter." He also accused the Vanity Fair editor of trying to "nail Hillary for Obama. It's the most biased press coverage in history."
Throughout the day on Thursday, CNN carried the water for the Democrats and portayed President Bush’s "appeasement" remarks before the Knesset in Israel as an attack on Barack Obama. "The Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer began his program by stating that "President Bush slams Barack Obama from Israel." Senior political analyst Gloria Borger quipped, "I know that the White House press secretary says they were not talking about Barack Obama, but of course they were." Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin remarked, "I think this is straight out of the usual Republican playbook." Jack Cafferty struck hard: "He is beyond irrelevant and he's not going to scare anybody. He just babbles away like Eliot Spitzer talking about matrimonial fidelity. It's a joke." CNN’s other senior political analyst, David Gergen, reminisced, "I can't remember as brazen a political shot by a President overseas in a political race back home... an especially jagged kind of criticism."
For the rest of the campaign, the Media Research Center will each Tuesday announce its picks for the “Worst of the Week,” meaning the most egregious, horrendous and stupefying liberal bias of Campaign 2008. This week, the spotlight shines on those journalists who rushed to the side of Barack Obama after his minister’s radical comments, and NBC’s ridiculous effort to hype bad economic news [audio/video links below fold]:
Feeling Obama’s Pain. After Barack Obama’s former pastor’s radical remarks at the National Press Club, liberal journalists rallied around the Democratic candidate. Hours after Jeremiah Wright spoke on April 28, NBC’s Brian Williams emphasized those who deemed it a "circus" and a "sideshow," as his NBC Nightly News highlighted the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart: "Unfortunately, the victim in all of this is going to be Senator Obama’s campaign."
Does it seem the ultimate of political ironies that media are using the same strategy that helped Bill Clinton win the White House in 1992 to prevent him and his wife from returning to the Oval Office in 2009?
After all, even people that haven't been around the political block a few times should certainly find the following all too predictable press strategy all too familiar (picture courtesy Times Online):
Later in the segment on CNN’s "Newsroom" between Tony Harris, David Gergen, and Roland Martin after the Reverend Jeremiah Wright speech at the National Press Club (which Mark Finkelstein blogged about earlier), Gergen suggested that "it’s time for him [Rev. Wright] to get off the stage, and frankly, for the media, I suggest, to move on." He also twice characterized the whole affair as a "sideshow" [audio available here].
Shortly after a commercial break which came in the middle of the discussion, Gergen, in response to a question from "Newsroom" co-host Tony Harris, said of Rev. Wright, "Every time he appears, he just gives legitimacy and a hunger by those who oppose Barack Obama to re-run those tapes, to keep him at the center of controversy, to let this overhang and define Barack Obama, when it has, you know -- it has very, very little to do -- it's a very marginal piece of who Barack Obama is and what he stands for."
Gergen then talked about how the Rev. Wright issue was a distraction, and how the preacher should have handled himself after the controversy broke, all the while heaping praise on him, and at the end, making his "move on" suggestion.
How bad was Reverend Wright's appearance before the National Press Club this morning? Bad enough that even CNN contributor Roland Martin—who yesterday enthused about Wright's address to the Detroit NAACP, who gave Wright's chat with Bill Moyers an 'A'—flunked it with an 'F.' Bad enough that David Gergen condemned it as "narcissistic almost beyond belief." Bad enough that, introducing a panel discussion of the speech, the palpably distressed CNN Newsroom host Tony Harris let out an audible groan of "ah, boy," and later wondered how much damage had been done.
The roundtable segment of Tuesday's The Situation Room offered CNN viewers opposite takes on the Bush administration's culpability in the rise of oil prices with Jack Cafferty and David Gergen on opposite ends. Cafferty, who has a history of blaming high oil prices on President Bush, argued that the administration's "idea of an energy policy is to put Dick Cheney in a closed, locked room out of sight of the public with some guys from Enron and some oil company guys, hammer out some kind of a deal, and then sit back and watch oil prices go from $28 when Bush was inaugurated to $111 now."
But Gergen later jumped into the discussion to explain the true origin of oil prices: "I think it's wrong to argue or suggest that somehow the oil companies have been manipulating these prices upward. These prices have not been, you know, rising sky high because of the Bush administration. They've been rising sky high because world demand is up so significantly."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday April 1 The Situation Room on CNN:
Well, that didn’t take long. On CNN Monday night, John McCain was treated like any other conservative Republican, as correspondents and a tilted panel of ex-Clinton officials painted him as irresponsible for opposing a supposedly necessary increase in taxes. In a “Keeping Them Honest” segment on Anderson Cooper 360, reporter Tom Foreman wondered if McCain “can keep that promise” of “no new taxes,” before asserting: “Some economists say not.”
But Foreman’s sole economist was Robert Greenstein of the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a longstanding proponent of higher taxes. Foreman provided no “liberal” tag nor gave any hint of Greenstein’s agenda, as the latter argued that “the problems in the future are so large that it’s pretty unthinkable we could close those deficits either by just cutting programs or just raising taxes.”
CNN senior political analyst (and U.S. News & World Report editor-at-large) David Gergen scolded GOP candidate Mitt Romney on Monday’s Anderson Cooper 360 for daring to suggest that the health of the American economy is as important as fighting climate change. Gergen likened that to the "divisive" debate on race among Democratic candidates and called it a “very dangerous” argument for Republicans to make: “If Romney wins, and that becomes the message of the Republican Party, we are going to have two huge clashes in this country between needs on the economy vs. needs to deal with climate change. And it’s a very dangerous place for the Republican Party to go.”
Romney’s chief rival in today’s Michigan primary, Arizona Senator John McCain, has consistently pushed the liberal side of the climate change debate. In a speech in Kalamazoo yesterday, McCain sounded a lot like Al Gore: “I believe there's scientific evidence that drastic things are happening to our planet. If I'm wrong and we move ahead with green technology, the only downside is leaving a cleaner world for our children.”
Instead of scolding McCain for embracing a liberal position in a Republican primary, Gergen faulted Romney for not following suit. Because of his past service in the Reagan and Ford administrations, Gergen is often cast as the conservative counter-balance in roundtables; last night, for example, he appeared with reporter Candy Crowley and liberal CNN contributor Roland Martin. But with Gergen (who also worked for Bill Clinton) making liberal points, too, there’s no conservative to offer an alternative opinion.