Washington Post reporters Paul Farhi and Billy Kenber caused a morning cereal spew inside the Beltway. In a story about the revolving door between reporters and Team Obama, there was this unintentional laugh line from Jay Carney: “But I think any reading of my coverage as a reporter would show that I was not an ideologue. [Time columnist] Joe Klein said he thought I was a Republican” when Carney joined Biden’s staff.
See my dossier on how Carney found Hillary was “strangely mesmerizing" as “the polite but passionate American citizen,” or how Bill Clinton was “probably the best white politician out there speaking on race issues.” (That sounds exactly like Joe Klein.) The Posties quoted Rush Limbaugh decrying the obvious media-Obama mindmeld, then lamely tried to argue their way out of that reality:
Following the path of CNN Middle East correspondent Aneesh Raman and producer Kate Albright-Hanna, who both jumped aboard the Obama campaign last year, senior political producer Sasha Johnson this week announced she's leaving the network's Washington bureau to take the Press Secretary slot at the Department of Transportation. She won't be the only media vet in that shop. As The Politico's Michael Calderone noted Monday night in reporting Johnson's move, former Chicago Tribune Washington correspondent Jill Zuckman “already headed to Transportation in February, becoming Director of Public Affairs and assistant to Secretary Ray LaHood.”
Plus, in the past month or so, two other DC journalists accepted administration positions. ABC's long-time Justice Department correspondent, Beverley Lumpkin, who mostly handled radio news, in April joined the very department she covered for so many years, prompting a Washington Post blogger to quip on Tuesday that she's “turning sources into colleagues.” Speaking of the Washington Post, its former science reporter, Rick Weiss, is now advancing Obama policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology.
So far, by my count, at least ten mainstream media journalists have revolved into positions toiling for the Obama campaign, transition or administration. And that doesn't count CNN's Sanjay Gupta, whom the administration courted for Surgeon General; nor long-time NBC News anchor and reporter Jane Pauley who campaigned for Obama last fall in her native Indiana.
In one of the most comical Politico stories I have ever encountered, several prominent journalists insisted that the revolving door between the media and liberal Democrats, especially Team Obama, is not a symptom of bias. Instead, they blamed the trend on the economy:
In three months since Election Day, at least a half-dozen prominent journalists have taken jobs working for the federal government.
Journalists, including some of those who’ve jumped ship, say it’s better to have a solid job in government than a shaky job — or none at all — in an industry that’s fading fast.
From the Revolving Door file: more liberal newspaper reporters are leaving their D.C. bureaus behind for jobs in Democratic politics. Scott Shepard of Cox Newspapers is joining the office of Sen. John Kerry as a speechwriter, while Chicago Tribune reporter Jill Zuckman is joining the Obama administration as a public-affairs officer for Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Shepard is the second newspaper reporter to accept a job with the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee in recent months. Former Los Angeles Times and New York Times reporter Douglas Frantz is now chief investigator on Kerry’s staff at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Michael Calderone, media reporter for the Politico newspaper, reported that both Shepard and Zuckman blamed financial troubles at their media companies as a factor in their decision to become federal employees.
A look at the MRC "Notable Quotables" archives show some clues that these reporters may have comfortably signed up for the Democrats. Shepard drew attention in 1994 for going beyond the facts to defend Clinton’s Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders:
On Thursday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews actually praised Sarah Palin for her ability to draw a crowd and even pegged her as the early frontrunner for the GOP nod in 2012, "Who’s gonna beat her?" However the MSNBC host, later admitted giving Palin that much credit took a lot out of him as he confessed to a guest panelist: "This is really hard to do this, to salute Sarah Palin."
The following exchange occurred during a segment with the Politico's Roger Simon and Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman on the December 4, edition of "Hardball":
CHRIS MATTHEWS: As a student of politics, you guys are too, inevitably the man, in this case the woman, who gives that "Someday we'll win, we'll win this thing back again, even though we lost year," was Goldwater in ‘60, Reagan in ‘76. They all go to the convention, they give that crie de guerre, that call for, you know, call, war cry, and they all do it in the same way. "We're gonna lose this year but some day we're gonna come back." Goldwater came back and got the nomination, Reagan came back and got the nomination. Both from the right wing of the Republican Party. She could do it.
Don't get me wrong. I don't mean to suggest Mike Barnicle's nearly as deep in the tank for Obama as Chris Matthews, for whom he subbed for on tonight's Hardball. Mike's actually refreshingly down-the-middle compared to the regular host.
Still, when at the very end of this evening's show Mike asked a question of Jill Zuckman, the Chicago Tribune reporter on the Palin beat, wondering [hoping?] whether the wild enthusiasm for Sarah has run its course, he got an answer that I don't quite think he was expecting.
You might say nothing could be more unsurprising than a panel of political pundits admitting the obvious: that Barack Obama is playing the race card when he accuses John McCain of saying the Dem candidate "doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency."
But what makes the punditry panel's unanimity notable is that no one would accuse them of being McCain backers, and what's more, that they turned up on Hardball. Surely Chris Matthews, were he not on vacation, would have found one diehard to deny reality. But with Mike Barnicle guest-hosting, a consensus of truth-telling broke out.
Barnicle began by playing a clip of McCain, interviewed by CNN's John King, saying that it is legitimate to accuse Obama of having played the race card. The video is worth viewing if only to watch McCain end the interview by shaking a surprised King's hand and walking away. Then the panel commented. Perry Bacon of the Washington Post said he would decline to answer directly, but his answer left no real doubt as to his view.
NewsBusters has learned that presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama has cancelled plans to visit two U.S. military bases while in Germany, this despite having all kinds of time to speak to gushing Berliners as well as getting in a workout at the Ritz Carlton.
One of the bases, The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, "is an overseas military hospital operated by the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense...[that] serves as the nearest treatment center for wounded soldiers coming from Iraq and Afghanistan."
Yet, as Ed Morrissey's Hot Air reported a few hours ago, Spiegel Online claimed at 1:42 PM local time (picture courtesy Chicago Tribune):
For years Chris Matthews has been proclaiming defeat in Iraq, on an almost nightly basis, on "Hardball" but on Tuesday night he finally admitted the success of the surge that John McCain supported. However, the MSNBC host claimed it would be Barack Obama that would get to enjoy the spoils.
After Newsweek's Howard Fineman suggested, "We're not losing," and pointed out the surge success would make it easier for a troop pullout, Matthews admitted the following:
MATTHEWS: Senator McCain wanted the surge to work, it worked politically and Barack Obama is the beneficiary. Not exactly the right development, politically, for him.
Matthews began the segment by playing a clip of McCain criticizing Obama on the war but then wondered if the Republican presidential nominee, "should take it back?"
The following is the full exchange as it occurred on the July 22, "Hardball":
During the noon hour of the July 8 "MSNBC News Live," host Tamron Hall discussed McCain's new TV ad with Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman and Washington Post’s Kevin Merida. The ad focused on McCain's time as a POW as demonstrative of his love of country and Hall questioned how Obama could compete with such a story.
Well, look, Senator McCain's got this great story about what he survived and what he endured and his campaign wants to tell that story as much as possible because they think that that's something voters respect and it gives them a sense of what he’s made of. But Senator Obama’s got a great American success story, too, and it’s just a different one and I think voters are equally impressed with what he’s all about.
So, the story of a man who never served in the military but was a community organizer and graduated from Harvard Law is "different" but just as impressive as the story of a man who was a prisoner of war, tortured by his Communist captors and refused special treatment in order to stay with his fellow servicemen in prison?
Chris Matthews was not happy and seemed overly sensitive when John McCain compared Barack Obama to his old boss Jimmy Carter. On Tuesday night's "Hardball," after Matthews played a clip of McCain saying Obama was running for "Carter's second" term, he declared "I don't like it," and tried to write the attack off by saying not enough voters "even remembered voting for the guy."
The following exchanges occurred throughout the June 10 edition of "Hardball":
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: Look John McCain has a more complicated task because he's got to try to discredit Obama but also say he's not gonna be like George Bush either. And I think the difficulty of this task is highlighted by, you look at the examples, Barack Obama is saying John McCain would be George Bush's third term and McCain comes back with Jimmy Carter. Well you know there are a lot of voters out there saying, "And who was Jimmy Carter exactly?" They don't remember that.
No one missed the fact that Barack Obama and John Edwards looked right together. "They looked fantastic together," gushed Jill Zuckman, the Chicago Tribune's able political writer. "They looked like a ticket."
Ms. Zuckman is a Chicago Tribune national correspondent and her gushy enthusiasm may strike readers as something less than what would be be expected from an unbiased, detached reporter. Although it's not the first time Ms. Zuckman's conveyed her appreciation for the combo.
In her June 28, 2007 dispatch, "Fighting the 'Who?' factor - Candidates considered outside the top tier struggle to get even a once-over from voters," she writes of:
Obama, an electrifying orator and the most formidable African-American presidential hopeful in history; and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, a handsome Southerner and his party's most recent vice presidential nominee.
Chris Matthews might as well have chanted "No Blood For Oil" throughout the Monday edition of MSNBC's "Hardball" as he sounded like an anti-war protestor as he charged that U.S. servicemen and women were spilling blood for Big Oil, as he questioned: "Are we fighting for the American oil companies for Mobil and Exxon? And they are making these enormous profits because of access to oil over there...Should we put Exxon signs up over Arlington Cemetery and Mobil signs up there, like they have at baseball stadiums?"
Pivoting off a David Shuster report that claimed Alan Greenspan "provided evidence" that the Iraq war has been "fought for oil," Matthews devoted much of the September 17 edition of "Hardball" to that conspiracy theory. The following is Shuster's report followed by Matthews's various "No Blood for Oil," rants: