Former Barack Obama senior advisor David Axelrod on Tuesday demonstrated why it's absurd for him to have been hired by NBC News at the beginning of his previous boss's second term.
Appearing on Morning Joe, Axelrod struck back at CBS's Bob Schieffer for his criticism of the White House on Sunday's Face the Nation (video follows with transcript and commentary):
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST OF CBS FACE THE NATION: It’s reached the point that if I want to interview anyone in the administration on camera—from the lowest-level worker to a White House official—I have to go through the White House Press Office. If their chosen spokesman turns out to have no direct connection to the story of the moment—as was the case when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was sent out to explain the Benghazi episode—then that’s what we, and you the taxpayer, get, and it usually isn’t much.
So I am glad the President has asked the Attorney General to review whether his investigations into leaks is having a chilling effect on journalists. But it shouldn’t stop there. The President needs to rethink his entire communications policy top to bottom. It is hurting his credibility and shortchanging the public. And to head the review, how about someone other than the Attorney General whose department is so deeply involved? That makes no sense to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, CO-HOST: David, I guess first of all, what do you make of what Bob Schieffer had to say. Among all of his points, did any of them make sense to you?
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISOR TURNED NBC NEWS ANALYST: Well, look, I think we have to separate out issues. I do think that there are real issues regarding the relationship with the media on this leak matter, and certainly, as you guys have been talking about all morning, the notion of naming a journalist as a co-conspirator for receiving information is something that I find very disturbing.
But, the notion that, you know, the public should be concerned or disturbed or the taxpayer’s being cheated because Bob can't book the guests he wants, I'm unsympathetic to that. I understand why he's frustrated about it, but I don't blame the White House for wanting to put out the spokespeople they want to put out.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, CO-HOST: Is it really that simple? Is Bob Schieffer a whiner? I mean, you're suggesting that he’s a whiner.
AXELROD: No I'm not. No, I didn't say whiner. Don't put words in my mouth.
BRZEZINSKI: But it is kind of like a whiner.
AXELROD: I love Bob, and I respect Bob.
SCARBOROUGH: Because if he is a whiner, so is every other journalist in Washington, D.C., who says you guys, since 2008, have more effectively shut out the press with online media than anybody else. There's not a lot of access to the president.
BRZEZINSKI: And maybe put out people who don’t have much to say pertaining to the issue at hand.
AXELROD: I don’t think, I don't think that it's a bad policy to put out the people you think are germane to a story. No, I don't think he’s whining. I think he’s doing what he, from his perspective, what he needs to do, which is to nudge more guests to come on his show. But I, you know, I do think the other issue is serious. I think mixing the two is a mistake.
Isn't that special?
So not only does the current administration highly-regulate who will represent it on television - even if, as Schieffer pointed out, said person knows absolutely nothing about the subject matter! - now Obama has his former senior advisor out there defending his actions in the role of "senior political analyst" on NBC News and its affiliate.
Now before liberals reflexively say, "What about Fox News hiring former Bush officials Dana Perino and Karl Rove," consider the timing of their employment.
In Perino's case, she went to Fox after Bush left office. As such, she was never in a position of defending current policies.
As for Rove, he was hired in early 2008 - a far cry from Axelrod and former Obama press secretary Bob Gibbs who were both hired by NBC News shortly after the current White House resident began his second term.
Moreover, Rove was hired by Fox largely to offer opinions about the upcoming elections. As Howard Kurtz pointed out in March 2008:
No one would accuse the newly minted pundit of being balanced, but to the surprise of some critics, he has been generally fair-minded in his commentary. The man long derided by the left as "Bush's brain" is trying to move beyond his attack-dog reputation. [...]
But it is his role at Fox, the network most favored by the Bush administration, that is disarming some detractors. Slate said the "mild-mannered" Rove "has merely offered clarity, concision, humility, good humor, good posture, and dispassionate analysis." New York Times columnist David Carr called him "one of the best things on television news right now . . . graceful, careful and generous."
Try to find conservate media analysts with such kind words for the job Axelrod and Gibbs have been doing on NBC and MSNBC.