When people tell you who they are, believe them.
I was driving around listening to MSNBC's Race for the White House on Air America today and was puzzled to hear hostmeister David Gregory saying he was going to do the show’s "Gong One on One" segment with Rudy Guiliani.
Hmmmm. I wondered to myself. That’s odd. The segment in question typically features a progressive voice (i.e. the inimitable smackdown queen, Rachel Maddow) paired with the GooPer du jour. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure how Gregory was going to conduct a credible interview since (IMHO) his ardent support of McCain is obvious to anyone with ears and eyeballs.
Well, well, well. Silly me. Here I was thinking I had achieved numbness at watching the crap that passes for coverage with the corporate traditional media, but this was a new low.
So, to borrow a frame from the Great Colbert, David Gregory – Big McCain Shill or Biggest McCain Shill? I guess flak, hack or tool would work just as well.
Here’s how the interview went down. Note: I tried to transcribe Gregory’s questions as accurately as possible, but I could stomach just so much of rewinding and listening to the Guiliani bilge so his quotes are somewhat paraphrased.
DG: Let me ask you about this race. This is still a single digit race. Barack Obama has maintained a lead and yet he still remains ... his poll numbers still remain in the 40s. So a couple questions. Why do you think that Obama is not doing better and why don’t you think he can hit the 50% mark?
Can you even imagine a reporter throwing Obama a softball like that? "Uh, tell me, Senator, why can’t John McCain gain on you? Why isn’t someone so Mavericky and so well known to the American people winning this race by a mile?"
Don't hold your breath.
RJ: I don’t think he’s doing better. People still have question about him, just doesn’t have the kind of experience we expect in a presidential candidate, blah, blah blah, the least experienced candidate in last 100 years, lipflap, lipflap, John McCain’s experience will win the race for him. We need a person who has been tested and who gives real answers. Senator Obama is getting stuck with saying he doesn’t have answers, doesn’t have policies, just general thoughts.
DG: What’s an example of Obama not answering?
RG: Energy. Blah, blah, blah. Drilling, Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. Nuclear power, Obama NOES to nuclear, Obama NOES to drilling.
DG: When Senator McCain talks about the energy crisis in this country, this has been a crisis that republicans have effectively failed to find an answer to in all the time that GB has been president.
RG: This isn’t about republicans. John McCain has been in favor of Cap and Trade since before BO was in the state legislature.
Is that true? Wasn’t that ANOTHER McCain flipperrooo?
RG: Senator Obama has a record voting present more than just about anyone else.
I wish I could tell you that Gregory brought up McCain’s miserable attendance/voting record in the UNITED STATES SENATE, but I guess that’s too obvious a question.
RG: babble, babble, Difference between a man who has taken positions and a person who doesn’t seem to be able to do it. Lack of experience, Americans concerned.
Here’s where I almost drove off the road:
DG: Let me ask you a question about what was actually brought up in the primary. Former President Clinton said that a vote for Obama would be a roll of the dice. And I remember asking Senator Clinton and not really getting an answer to this question. What is the specific harm, what is the particular risk of Obama as president? What would you say it is?
Do you think Obama would EVER get a question like that about McCain??? Bueller ... Bueller ...?
RG: Country adrift, Taxes, BS, crapolla, etc., etc., etc, major impact on economy.
(Emphasis mine) DG: You think the country would be adrift, though, that’s the risk of Obama as president?
RG: The instincts he shows are not the instincts of a leader, negotiate with tyrants, talking point regurgitation.
There was finally a whiff of professionalism towards the end when Gregory voiced a mild pushback against the Maverick moniker and pointed out that McCain had flipper-flopped on the Bush tax cuts. "Is he too close to George Bush to earn the Maverick label like he did in 2000?"
Gregory also had a question about whether McCain should spend so much time "debating the wisdom or success of the surge when so many Americans are still asking questions about why we went to war in the first place?"
RG: John McCain can make a decision. Nuclear plants. Macho Macho man.
They ended the interview, uh ... lovefest, by blabbing about the VP possibilities (Mitt Good!), the Paris Hilton response ad (ha ha!) and McCain's terrific, kneeslapping sense of humor. What a guy!
I don’t know if this is more maddening or depressing. But what this definitely is NOT is legitimate journalism. NO questions about TODAY’s Washington Post front page story on McCain’s dubious donors (diaried earlier today). NO questions about McCain’s many mistakes and gaffes. NO questions about McCain's own "celebrity" through his many, many appearances in movies, on the teevee, etc.
It was as close to a McCain press release in two-part harmony that I hope to ever hear again. In my lifetime. Gag me.
AND, I believe Gregory has YET to frame a show to talk about any of McCain’s many weaknesses. The lead is all Obama, all the time. And not in a good way, by any means.
Here are the links to have your voice heard if you so choose. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!