One of the major criticisms in the 2008 presidential election cycle has been about the media bias in favor of liberal Democratic Sen. Barack Obama. Former MSNBC show host Tucker Carlson, now the senior campaign correspondent for the network admitted the criticism is valid.
Carlson, who has access behind the scenes in the news, compared the media’s affection for the
“If you think about the psychology of this – I think it’s interesting, Carlson said in an interview with Carol Joynt. “In the last 14 contests, those have all taken place since we knew in the press and announced pretty vocally – since we in the press love Obama, we’re quivering with our love for him – since we announced he was the nominee … it’s not conventional love, it’s the kind of love you have to be a ninth-grade boy to understand.”
Carlson noted one specific example of the media’s adoration for Obama.
“There was literally a host who I like and I know, but I’m not going to single him out by name – not on MSNBC, who began an interview with Obama at the very height of the Rev. Wright business by saying, ‘I’ll have you know – this show is above that story. We’re not going to ask you a single question about the Rev. Wright,” Carlson said.
Carlson was probably referring to CNN’s May 5 “American Morning,” which host John Roberts said, “I want to stipulate at the beginning of this interview, we are declaring a ‘Rev. Wright free zone’ today – so, no questions about Rev. Wright. Our viewers want us to move on so we’re going to move on.”
Even Carlson, whose network features the likes of left-of-center personalities including “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann and “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, thought that was way over the top.
“My feeling was … you don’t ever take a newsworthy topic off the table at the beginning of an interview. That’s insane. And he was applauded by everybody in the newsroom – ‘Oh really, he’s high-minded.’ Huh?”
Carlson said that same attitude travailed “big-time” off-camera.
“This is all I’ve ever done,” Carlson said. “Every single person I know practically is in the press. So, it’s just the world I live in. So, I’m not pointing fingers at my employer, I’m just saying in general there is this feeling … of, you know, we’re in favor of Obama.”
Carlson cited a discussion with a “prominent” newspaper reporter as more evidence of an Obama bias.
“[F]or instance, on the road, during one of the key early primaries with a very famous newspaper correspondent who I like very much – I’m not going to tell you his name – but, we’re standing outside, he’s having a cigarette … and he says something about how the candidate we’re following was not Barack Obama – he says, ‘You know, I’m an Obama man. I mean, to be totally honest, I just love Barack Obama, speaking for myself.’”
Carlson told the audience he was surprised by the newspaper correspondent’s admission.
“Whoa, it used to be you didn’t admit that,” Carlson said. “Most reporters vote for Democrats obviously, but a lot of them try I think to, you know, separate their own views from the work that they do as they should. Much less effort [by the media] this time.”
Carlson was also directly critical of his own network, MSNBC. Although his show got cancelled and he admitted it may have been due to his political opinion, but he harbored no ill-will for it. He did criticize his network’s handling of MSNBC contributor David Shuster suspension.
On Carlson’s February 7 show, Shuster raised the possibility that it seemed “like Chelsea’s sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way” as an effort by the campaign to influence superdelegates. Shuster was suspended, a decision that Carlson disagreed with.
“Well, we were bullied by the Hillary campaign. Oh my gosh – it was unbelievable” Carlson said. “[A]s a general matter, as a philosophical matter, as a matter of principle – you should never allow never allow yourself to be bullied for political reasons.”
As far as the topic of the business of the news media, Carlson didn’t blame “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric for her broadcast’s low ratings, but that it was the evolution of the media responsible.
“You know frankly, I think someone should apologize to Katie,” Carlson said. “Like, I’m the only defender of hopeless causes – I like Katie Couric, because look I’ve been there, I’ve been attacked a lot. I think Katie Couric has taken undue abuse. I don’t think it is Katie Couric’s fault, I really don’t. … It’s nobody’s fault. It’s the time slot and the custom in life is disappearing. Anybody in that role is going to suffer.”
Photo Credit: Ellen Schreiber