Just getting warmed up, he continued, "When Fox starts describing themselves as journalists or a news organization, that’s where I think it’s appropriate to describe Fox as disgraceful." Shuster attacked the cable network, where he was a correspondent at from 1996 to 2002, for its "insanity." Getting around to the personalities on FNC, he derided, "The stuff that comes out of Sean Hannity's mouth has been infuriating. The stuff that Bill O'Reilly says has been illogical."
As angry as Shuster was towards Fox, he appeared thrilled with the performance, thus far, of Obama. The MSNBC host, who saw his program "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" cancelled a few weeks ago, said of the President's April 29 news conference, "I thought Obama was brilliant." Shuster rhapsodized, "He's so informed. He's circumspect. He's articulate. He's thoughtful." Later in the interview, Shuster told Miller, "Well, I think in my lifetime...there's never been anything like it."
On April 6, 2009, the MRC released a Media Reality Check on Shuster that examined a segment on his now-defunct program called "Hypocrisy Watch" The concept of the near-daily feature was allegedly to point out hypocrisy emanating from politicians. The results of the study found that 71 percent of the so-called hypocrites were conservative or Republican and only eight percent were liberal or Democrat. So, Shuster deriding FNC as unfair and "disgraceful" is rather hard to believe.
The MSNBC anchor attacked the MRC study in the pages of the April 13 Washington Post, calling this organization "funded and run by die-hard conservatives with a clear partisan agenda." He went on to seriously claim that "Hypocrisy Watch" "was hard hitting on both parties." However, as both the MRC's study and his latest radio appearance prove, that just isn't so.
A transcript of the April 30 segment, which aired on "The Stephanie Miller Show" at 10:35am, follows:
DAVID SHUSTER: You know, I think every time Michele Bachmann opens her mouth, we've got something to report on. I guess, my question is, is she just an idiot or if [sic] she intends to be nuts. I don't know.
STEPHANIE MILLER: I don't know.
MILLER: So, what was your take on the press conference last night?
SHUSTER: You know, I actually thought- I thought Obama was brilliant. I mean, it's just- We're starting to hear from so many historians and people say this is one of the brightest Presidents, one of the most adept that we've had, perhaps, in our lifetime. And I think we see evidence of that every time he has one of these events. It's almost like the more varied the questions are, the tougher the questions are, he just- he- it's like he hits them back even harder. And he does it in sort of a friendly nature. He's so informed. He's circumspect. He's articulate. He's thoughtful. And I think, even for my friends who disagree, say with a particular policy, they at least acknowledge, well, there's an intellectual basis, there's a rationale to why he's saying what he does. Now, you may disagree with that, but at least you have to respect the fact that he's thought it through and he's logical and he's got a basis for his argument.
SHUSTER: You know Fox is, I mean, I can go on and on and on about Fox. I mean, I think their approach to this has been- I mean, look, if Fox wants to consider themselves the GOP house organ, that’s fine. They completely backed it up. When Fox starts describing themselves as journalists or a news organization, that’s where I think it’s appropriate to describe Fox as disgraceful. I mean, the set of rules, the set of standards that Fox pretends to try to follow. I mean, I don’t even know where to begin with Fox. It’s just insanity. If you want to make an argument that, look, President Obama is socialist, prove it. Taking the tax rate for the wealthy from 36 to 39 percent, it that socialist?
SHUSTER: Trying to save the banks by giving them more capital, money that the government is going to get back, is that socialist? Trying to lower health care, I mean, it doesn't make any sense.
SHUSTER: No, I was just going to say, Fox has just been brutal. I mean, their coverage on the Fox News Channel has been atrocious. The stuff that comes out of Sean Hannity's mouth has been infuriating. The stuff that Bill O'Reilly says has been illogical. You go up and down the schedule and its insanity over there. And, you know, you can say, the American people, maybe the American people deserve some of the blame for being not so well informed about the issues of the day, and that's fine. But there's a problem when news organizations deliberately or intentionally mislead people or misinform the public and get them to think, "Oh, Iraq was part of 9/11" when, no. I mean, you go up and down the list at the number of lies, perpetuated, promoted by Fox News is just shameful and it hurts everybody.
MILLER: David, having covered a lot of Presidents, how would you rate the first 100 days? I know it's an arbitrary measure, but-
SHUSTER: Well, I think in my lifetime, there's never been anything- there's never been anything like it. I mean, when you think about what he's been able to pass, what he's been able to get done. $800 billion stimulus plan, dealing with a number of crises, I mean, as a journalist you just look up and say, these are historic times. I mean, not just that it's the first African American President, it's historic for all that. But, we've never had a set of challenges face one President in the first 100 days, I think, in my lifetime. I think you have to go back to the Great Depression and FDR to look at a time when there was so much pressure on a White House and so much danger, whether it's foreign policy dangers in Afghanistan and Pakistan or whether it's economic dangers with the recession and things possibly getting worse and the banking crisis.