September 30, 2008

So Tom Brokaw is fretting about criticism that NBC shows favoritism toward Obama.

On Sunday, I commented on how odd it was that Tom Brokaw ended a "Meet the Press" interview with Steve Schmidt and David Axelrod by saying -- seemingly out of nowhere -- that "in fairness to everybody here" he should tell us about a poll showing that, 53 to 42 percent, Americans think McCain is better suited to be commander in chief. That made me suspect that "Inside NBC, they are fretting about criticism that they show favoritism toward Obama, so Brokaw thought it might help to lob out a glaring hunk of McCain favoritism."

So I was very interested in this-behind-the-scenes report:
In an interview here after Sunday’s ["Meet the Press"] broadcast, Mr. Brokaw said that over the summer he had “advocated” within the executive suite of NBC News to modify the anchor duties of the MSNBC hosts Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews on election night and on nights when there were presidential debates....

Mr. Brokaw said he had also conducted some shuttle diplomacy in recent weeks between NBC and the McCain campaign. His mission, he said, was to assure the candidate’s aides that — despite some negative on-air commentary by Mr. Olbermann in particular — Mr. McCain could still get a fair shake from NBC News. Mr. Brokaw said he had been told by a senior McCain aide, whom he did not name, that the campaign had been reluctant to accept an NBC representative as one of the moderators of the three presidential debates — until his name was invoked.

“One of the things I was told by this person was that they were so irritated, they said, ‘If it’s an NBC moderator, for any of these debates, we won’t go,’ ” Mr. Brokaw said. “My name came up, and they said, ‘Oh, hell, we have to do it, because it’s going to be Brokaw.’ ”
I was right.

***

This is good too -- Brokaw showing his exasperation with Schmidt and Axelrod:
“They didn’t come very prepared on the economy,” he said. “They’re both trying to give the impression they’re involved, but plainly they’re not.”

“I was interested in how the two of them stuck by their budget programs,” he said. “There was nothing that Obama has proposed that he’s willing to cut. McCain insisted he could balance a budget with spending cuts. Give me” — and here he paused for emphasis — “a break. Nobody believes that, in either case.”
Absolutely right.

33 comments:

dave in boca said...

Both candidates are bobbing and weaving, although McCain keeps saying the "bailout" should be passed. I think Axelrod & Schmidt are over their respective heads concerning any substance on any issue. Both are media-savvy manipulators.

Brokaw was always a bit leftish, but age & maturity finally do prevail in an active probing mind and coming to some conservative conclusions is often the result. I saw him in Vietnam 35 years ago when he was a cub at a hotel bar in what was then called Saigon, where all the reporters exchanged war stories.

I was Int'l Editor of a daily newspaper in DC for a few years & know that clubby leftish is the prevailing vibe among the "thundering herd" who [metaphor alert] often behave like a school of fish or a flock of birds. Good to see Brokaw breaking out of the pack.

El Presidente said...

It's been a long time since politicians got elected by saying they are not going to spend other people's money.

The government doesn't borrow from the present; it steals from the future.

El Presidente said...

Well, some of us steal from the present.

downtownlad said...

Since when did MSNBC and NBC News become one and the same.

It's been pretty obvious that MSNBC was trying to position themselves as the liberal alternative to conservative Fox News. Nobody ever thought Olbermann was trying to be neutral, so what's the problem? Although they've backtracked now.

Number of times, Ann has acknowledged the bias of Fox News. Zero.

MadisonMan said...

"There was nothing that Obama has proposed that he’s willing to cut. McCain insisted he could balance a budget with spending cuts. Give me” — and here he paused for emphasis — “a break. Nobody believes that, in either case."

Worth re-reading. Both candidates are totally at sea when it comes to the Economy.

Bender said...

Too little, too late Tom.

They have already destroyed NBC for now and the foreseeable future. They keep having Olbermann pop up everywhere. You can't even get away from him in their football coverage.

Message to Tom: All that NBC is good for now is to be flushed.

Masterasia said...

I've been reading up on this too since the Wall Street flare up two weeks ago.

Congressional records have shown democrats having a bigger slice of the blame.

Obama is king here, but this economic crisis when viewed objectively has shaken the trust and respect that I have for the democratic ticket.

Simply unbelievable.

Simon said...

Ann (quoting Brokaw) said...
'McCain insisted he could balance a budget with spending cuts. Give me a break. Nobody believes that....' Absolutely right.”

That's not absolutely right, as I see it. It's right enough if you correct Brokaw's misstatement. Without any doubt, beyond any serious argument, it's absolutely and entirely correct that we could balance the budget with spending cuts. What nobody believes, and the absolutely correct point that Brokaw's getting at but couldn't quite get out, is that the spending cuts that McCain is presently proposing will balance the budget. Perhaps that's splitting hairs, but let's be clear that it isn't the concept that is wrong, it's the particulars of how far McCain will and won't go. The only way to balance the budget is to cut spending - McCain understands this but doesn't yet seem to grasp how much spending will have to go. Still - better that than Obama who is off in his own little world, delusionally babbling about more spending!

downtownlad said...

The only way to balance the budget is to cut spending?

Huh?

Tax hikes work perfectly well in balancing budgets as long as spending is held in check. But it doesn't have to be cut.

Clinton balanced the budget. And he raised spending moderately.

Try again.

bleeper said...

Brokaw is a communist. HA ha!

Rich B said...

McCain is right.

The budget was heading toward balance before the credit/housing crisis and the idiotic stimulus package. McCain specifically proposed a freeze on non-defense, non-entitlement spending and also pointed out ways that defense spending could be reined in. A freeze would force legislators to slash programs if they want to increase others. Undoubtedly it would be a new experience (except for defense spending which has been cut in the past).

On the other hand, Obamuh's response was to list all the programs he wants to spend more on.

BTW, Axelrod claimed that Al Qaeda is resurgent. He needs to be challenged on that lie. Seen any good Osama videos lately?

John Hawks said...

Keep in mind that Brokaw is moderating one of the (the next?) presidential debates. He may be especially worried about the appearance of favoritism for his personal reasons, not only the corporate ones.

Simon said...

DTL - tax hikes contract the economy and reduce taxation revenues over everything but the extreme short term. This is the mistake that liberals always make when they argue that a tax increase will bring in revenues of X - the assumption that if you increase the tax rate, the number on the other side of the equation will remain static. It doesn't. I suppose that you could balance the budget by increasing taxation for a little while, but in the medium to long term, the only way to balance the budget is to conform government spending to the percentage of national resources we can afford to dedicate to it, which means dramatically cutting spending. It means, in essence, abolishing entitlement spending, and sooner not later.

SteveR said...

I don't NBC News has made any real effort to distiguish themselves from MSNBC in spite of what they might claim.

As far as trying to be fair to McCain at this point its a shallow effort. Even if they were as "fair" as the majority of the MSM, they'd be only slightly obvious in their support for Obama.

My only concern now is whether President Obama will get an eight year honeymoon, complete with tinglely legs or will they advocating frogmarching for White House staffers.

SteveR said...

I don't think NBC..

William said...

The beau ideal of journalism used to be objectivity. This is now one of those virtues like chastity that are considered proper for minors and obsolete for adults. Lehrer and Brian Lamb show that it can still be done, but they are not the avatars that other journalists respect. The high calling of journalism is not to uncover the truth but to reveal the lies and hypocrisy behind Republicans and Christians.....I used to think that the press in their handling of bias was like the Church in their handling of the pedophilia scandals: denial followed by cover-up. Now I think it is far worse than that. If the Pope came out and said that the Church has a divine mission to abuse altar boys and that the Church should actively recruit pedophiles to fulfill this mission, then that I think would be the equivalent of the MSM's recruitment and encouragement of left leaning reporters. Does no one in the press mourn the loss of respect that they have suffered in the last generation?

Alex said...

Can any liberal actually prove that the Fox News anchor desk is biased? No, Sean Hannity doesn't count.

Alex said...

william - objectivism in journalism? You mean when William Randolph Hearst ginned up phony stories to get America into a war in 1898? Yellow journalism has existed forever!

jdeeripper said...

“There was nothing that Obama has proposed that he’s willing to cut. McCain insisted he could balance a budget with spending cuts. Give me” — and here he paused for emphasis — “a break. Nobody believes that, in either case.”

Come on, Tom. The President doesn't create the budget. The Congress does. The President doesn't have the line item veto. He can't cut doodoo.

He can propose a budget, have it get chewed up by congress and then work with what's left.

The issue is not the lack of specifics from presidential candidates on the budget. The issue is recognizing that this fixation on the President as SuperDaddy is wrong.

The money is controlled by Congress and the Federal Reserve Board.

Rose said...

Seen any good Osama videos lately?

No, but I really like the Obama/Binladen - I mean Obama/Biden signs. Cracks me up every time I drive by one.

downtownlad said...

Simon - perhaps you should take another look at the economy under Clinton. He raised taxes and the economy boomed.

Assuming spending is the same, it is better for the economy to be balanced with higher taxes than to run a budget deficit with lower taxes. Republicans used to believe that.

Pogo said...

"His mission, he said, was to assure the candidate’s aides that ...McCain could still get a fair shake from NBC News."

Every time I read it, it still makes me laugh.

Charlie Brown. Lucy. Football.

"Clinton ...raised taxes and the economy boomed."
That's a winning slogan.
"The taxes will increase until the economy improves."
JE Carter, nucular economist

knox said...

Can any liberal actually prove that the Fox News anchor desk is biased? No, Sean Hannity doesn't count.


I'm not a liberal, but Brit Hume sometimes sits with Juan Williams et al on Fox News Sunday and offers opinion. It's always conservative. No one can argue that he's objective--any more than they can argue that George Stephanopoulos is.

With that said, I think Hume's show does a better job at being objective than any other nightly news program I've seen.

PatCA said...

I turned the program off after half of it, watching Brokaw sit there like a bump on a log listening to each surrogate's talking points. After they were done bloviating, he would say, now, let's move on.

What? Is he an interviewer? He's incompetent. And he is in the tank for any Democrat.

rastajenk said...

MSNBC is totally unwatchable anymore, effective this morning, and that's too bad, 'cause I still think Matthews can be entertaining.

This morning I saw a promo for MSNBC's evening lineup: "McCain? Leadership? Scary!!" It was more of an Obama hit-job ad than a promo.

I can take a little bias, but that was inexcusable.

I don't watch Sunday night football because of Olbermann, either. There's no good reason to subject myself to his snarly countenance.

TMink said...

Simon wrote: "This is the mistake that liberals always make when they argue that a tax increase will bring in revenues of X"

I agree with your post, but Kennedy was a tax cutter! He knew that cutting the gov out of our pockets leaves more for us and we will spend it or use it to make more money.

He knew that, I wonder if he would know the current Democratic party?

Trey

The Drill SGT said...

downtownlad said...
Simon - perhaps you should take another look at the economy under Clinton. He raised taxes and the economy boomed.


and the dot.com bubble that Burst in 3/2000, 8 months beore the election?

The Drill SGT said...

ROTFLMAO

NBC nightly news just did a story on the North Vietnamese that
saved John McCain. the best fiction was the Hanoi Hilton Camp Commandant who said he invited McCain to his office for official business and afterwards McCain conducted English lessons. Regularly :)

blake said...

I wonder if Brokaw thinks of himself as objective.

Certainly, he knows it's a goal to shoot for.

Is that what's different about the current generation? They don't believe anything other than the viewpoints they hold at this moment could be true?

Brokaw allows that possibility, whatever else he might do to undermine one side or the other.

The Drill SGT said...

blake said...
I wonder if Brokaw thinks of himself as objective.


My bet is that Brokaw knows he is biased, strives for objectivity and fails.

I have no idea whether he recognizes that failure.

blake said...

Still, you almost gotta admire that he tries.

The Drill SGT said...

blake said...
Still, you almost gotta admire that he tries.


He's about the only one left, now that Russert is gone

My particular contempt is reserved for Olbermann, Wallace and Rather.

Dody Jane said...

I still think Tom will secretly vote for McCain. Just a hunch based on his greatest generational mind set. Even though McCain is from the Vietnam War... he looks like he is from the greatest generation...