On Tuesday's Today, NBC's Ann Curry treated both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as victims of unfairness -- worrying Obama will be “swift-boated” by Republicans and asking Clinton if she agreed “the playing field has been not level because you are a woman?” (Mark Finkelstein's posting this morning, “Curry Concerned About GOP 'Swift-boating'; Hillary: I'm Like Ginger Rogers
,” highlighted these two questions.) My addition: This was at least the third time an NBC News host or anchor has fretted to Obama about him being “swift-boated” by odious Republican tactics, questions which presumed the criticisms of John Kerry in 2004 were mendacious. Two previous incidents:
The February 20 MRC CyberAlert
, “NBC's Matt Lauer Raises Notion of GOP 'Swift Boating' Obama,” recounted:
Even though the general election campaign has yet to begin, some in the media seem pretty anxious to start condemning Republicans for dirty tricks. In an interview with Barack Obama shown Tuesday morning [February 19] on Today, Matt Lauer asked the Democratic frontrunner: "Have you stopped to think what the Obama version of 'Swift Boating' might be in this campaign cycle if you get to the general election? What they did to John Kerry, what's that version going to be with Barack Obama?"
My October 31 NewsBusters item
, "NBC's Williams Suggests Obama Likely to Be 'Swift-Boating' Victim," reported:
During Tuesday night's [October 30] Democratic presidential debate on MSNBC, NBC anchor Brian Williams posed a question to Barack Obama which managed to simultaneously impugn Republicans as executors of disreputable campaign practices and portray Obama as a likely victim of it -- all based on Mitt Romney flubbing Obama's name and memories of the Bush campaign's attacks on John McCain in 2000.
Explaining that his question would be "about religion and misinformation," Williams, who co-moderated the debate with Tim Russert, raised how Romney "misspoke twice on the same day, confusing your name with that of Osama bin Laden," as if, apparently, that was some sort of effort to suggest Obama is Muslim. Williams proceeded to highlight how "your party is fond of talking about potential swift-boating," before he got to his charged political point in the form of a question: "Are you fearful of what happened to John McCain, for example in South Carolina a few years back, confusion on the basis of things like names and religion?"
Curry's loaded question to Obama, and his answer with “Can Obama Handle Republican Attacks?” as the on-screen heading, in the taped interview -- interspersed with clips from her session with Clinton -- as aired in the first half hour of the Tuesday, April 22 Today show on NBC (as transcribed by the MRC's Geoff Dickens):
CURRY: In the last presidential election John Kerry, a decorated military veteran, was "swift-boated" as being unpatriotic. Why do you dismiss the kinds of questions that are going to be the bread and butter of the Republican campaign, if you become the nominee?
OBAMA: Just the fact that the Republicans bring them up doesn't mean they're actually helping the kitchen table issues that the American people are, are dealing with. You know this, this is an example of, sort of politics as being all about tactics and process and attack and counterattack, as opposed to solving problems. And look I guess I'm making a bet that the American people are sick and tired of that kind of politics. That they want something different.