MSNBC's David Shuster Again Slams Rove; Obsesses Over Fox News

March 27th, 2009 12:53 PM

"1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" host David Shuster on Thursday intensified his obsession with former top Bush aide Karl Rove and made, for the fourth time, the political operative the subject of his "Hypocrisy Watch" segment. He also continued his habit of pointing out that Rove is now a paid contributor of Fox News. After noting that the ex-White House aide attacked Barack Obama in an op-ed for the "extremely conservative" Wall Street Journal, the MSNBC host attacked, "Karl, I appreciate that it may be difficult for you to wake up each day, given what you and your Bush administration colleagues did to this country." (Rove earned Shuster's ire for suggesting in the WSJ piece that Obama has been disingenuous in how he's argued for his economic policies. The MSNBC host mostly ignored the context of Rove's article.)

Shuster once was a serious, supposedly straight journalist who, from 2002 through 2008, reported for the "NBC Nightly News" and "Today," among other programs. However, since taking over hosting duties for "1600" in December, his tone has morphed into that of almost every other extremely liberal host on MSNBC. On March 6, he lashed out at Rove for criticizing the Obama administration over the Rush Limbaugh controversy. Placing Rove in the "Hypocrisy Watch," a segment supposedly designed to go after any hypocritical politician or public figure, Shuster derided, "Karl, you've spent your entire career putting politics ahead of everything else. When you now complain about the Obama White House playing politics with the GOP, your whining is hypocrisy and it's wrong."

Another obsession of Shuster is Fox News, which, considering the fact that he worked at the network from 1996 to 2002, is somewhat intriguing. During the March 26 "Hypocrisy Watch" segment, he began the segment by observing, "Karl Rove a.k.a. 'Bush's Brain' is paid to give commentary on Fox News." On March 9, he again pointed out, "Karl Rove is a paid commentator on Fox News." And in that same commentary, he highlighted, "I appreciate that Karl Rove, who helped sell the Iraq war, is now trying to rehabilitate his reputation by giving commentary on Fox News."

The timing of the latest "Hypocrisy Watch" is also interesting. The Democratic National Committee this week released a new web ad slamming Rove for calling the President "arrogant." The spot then attempts to imply that Rove himself his guilty of this and is being a hypocrite. Repeatedly calling Rove a hypocrite sounds very much like David Shuster and his style.

Shuster even took his Rove fixation to the social networking sight Twitter. As reported in a NewsBusters posting on March 18, he questioned Rove's manhood. Regarding a comment by Rove left on Shuster's Twitter page about why he won't come on the show, Shuster retorted, "Next time, try defending yourself 'like a man,' - mano y mano as I've repeatedly invited you to do."

The transcript of the March 26 "Hypocrisy Watch" segment follows:

DAVID SHUSTER: Former Bush 43 advisor Karl Rove is again criticizing President Obama's approach to the economic crisis. Furthermore, Rove is accusing the President of misleading people. And that takes us to tonight's "Hypocrisy Watch." First, the background. Karl Rove a.k.a. 'Bush's Brain' is paid to give commentary on Fox News. He also writes a regular column for the extremely conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page. In his latest column, Rove criticizes President Obama on several fronts and describes the president as, quote, "One who seems to think that repeating that repeating a false argument will make it true." Well, that's interesting because repeating a false argument was a key strategy in the Bush White House, especially in the runup to the Iraq war. Remember that little adventure? Before the war, Bush officials led by Karl Rove formed a team known as the White House Iraq Study Group. Their job was to craft a message that would sell the Iraq war to the American public. And one of the most effective talking points was the claim that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons.

DICK CHENEY: There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.

GEORGE W. BUSH: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

CHENEY: We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.

SHUSTER: All of those claims were false. No doubt about WMDs? Even Bush officials had doubts. Uranium from Africa? The administration knew that was false. Reconstituted nuclear weapons? There was no evidence. But the Bush-Cheney-Rove team repeated the claims over and over. Karl, I appreciate that it may be difficult for you to wake up each day, given what you and your Bush administration colleagues did to this country. Nonetheless, Karl, when you accuse President Obama of misleading the American public, that's hypocrisy. And it's wrong.