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Bennett Rebukes CNN for Using Palin's Daughter to Score Points --9/2/2008


1. Bennett Rebukes CNN for Using Palin's Daughter to Score Points
Late Monday afternoon live on CNN, Bill Bennett rebuked -- as an "outrageous" piece of "advocacy" and "attack journalism" that "has no place on CNN" -- a story the channel had just run which used the pregnancy of Sarah Palin's daughter to score political points by relaying as fact the talking points on sex education from a left-wing group. A defensive Wolf Blitzer kept saying "hold on" as he tried to justify raising the supposed hypocrisy. Live from Anchorage at 5:33 PM EDT/4:33 PM CDT/1:33 PM ADT, Kyra Phillips revealed "there were a number of things that we were sent here to investigate," including "trooper-gate," but before that, she stressed "here's what's interesting," that Palin "has gone on the record and said that she is in full support of abstinence, and that she doesn't believe in contraception on school grounds and sex education." Phillips then highlighted: "The Alliance for Reproductive Justice...says abstinence doesn't work, we've got to have better sex education in schools and this is just one example, this just underscores -- the pregnancy of the Governor's daughter -- to why we need sex education in schools."

2. CBS: Right Might Have Been Hypocrites on Pregnant Chelsea Clinton
Instead of just flat-out making a hypocrisy accusation against "the social conservatives" who "are rallying behind" Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin following news her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, CBS's Jeff Greenfield suggested "very conservative Republicans" may be hypocrites based on how they might have reacted eleven years ago. On Monday's CBS Evening News, Greenfield, at the site of the delayed Republican convention, felt compelled to share: "The one question that occurs to me is if 17-year-old Chelsea Clinton had become pregnant while living in the White House, would the reaction on the part of the Family Research Council and other very conservative Republicans been the same? Maybe it would have been, but it's a question worth asking."

3. Kroft Cues Up Obama to Agree Palin 'Has Less Experience than You'
CBS's 60 Minutes led Sunday night with a taped interview with the Democratic ticket and in the piece Steve Kroft, who couldn't resist labeling Sarah Palin as a "conservative" while never tagging Joe Biden, presumed as fact that Palin "has less experience" than Obama and cued up Obama to agree with his own campaign's rhetoric about how Palin undermines McCain's experience argument: "Does the fact that he chose as his Vice President someone who has less experience than you take that weapon out of his arsenal?" On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams pursued the same media narrative as he pressed McCain about how as "a 72-year-old cancer survivor" he chose "a not yet one full term Governor of Alaska. Is she the best person to be literally a heartbeat away from the presidency, Senator?" McCain rejected the premise and, without even knowing it, countered Kroft: "She's been in elected office longer than Senator Obama..."

4. MSNBC: 'Fire-Breather' Palin 'Makes Obama Look Like John Adams'
On Friday's Countdown show, while appearing as a guest, Newsweek's Howard Fineman, also an MSNBC political analyst, contended that, regarding her level of experience, Sarah Palin "makes Barack Obama look like John Adams." Host Keith Olbermann called her "the least experienced vice presidential candidate probably in American history," and repeatedly applied labels to her suggesting extremism, calling her "fanatically anti-abortion," "hard right," "global warming denying," a "rabid conservative," a "red meat conservative," and a "fire-breather."

5. Clift Reveals: In 'Many Newsrooms' Palin Greeted by 'Laughter'
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift disclosed on the McLaughlin Group -- seemingly without any compunction for how she was outing her fellow journalists as behaving the same way as Barack Obama's campaign staff, but I suppose we already knew that intuitively -- that John McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for VP was greeted by "literally laughter" in "very many newsrooms." From the show taped on Friday at Washington, DC's CBS affiliate and which aired at various times over the weekend around the nation, mostly PBS stations: "This is not a serious choice. It makes it look like a made for TV movie. If the media reaction is anything, it's been literally laughter in many places across, in very, very many newsrooms."

6. CNN's John Roberts: Palin Might Neglect Her Disabled Infant?
CNN's John Roberts, after briefly alluding to the issue of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's experience he called into question earlier on Friday's Newsroom program, asked correspondent Dana Bash about how the Alaska governor's newborn son with Down's syndrome might be affected if she were elected: "There's also this issue that on April 18th, she gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome....Children with Down's syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?" Bash deftly answered this question, which has the implication that Palin could neglect her infant son, and made a possible counter-argument that the McCain camp might use, that a question like Roberts' would be sexist: "That's a very good question, and I guess -- my guess is that, perhaps, the line inside the McCain campaign would be, if it were a man being picked who also had a baby, but -- you know, four months ago with Down's Syndrome, would you ask the same question?"

7. GMA Saturday's Weir Impugns Sarah Palin as a Neglectful Mother
On ABC's Good Morning America on Saturday, co-anchor Bill Weir bristled with hostility during an interview with a McCain campaign spokesman about the choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate, suggesting she was unqualified and too conservative. At one point, Weir even suggested that by running for Vice President, the Governor would be jeopardizing her four-month old daughter, who has Down's Syndrome. Weir confronted McCain political director Mike DuHaime: "Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the Senator, and the Governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?" When DuHaime offered a general answer about Palin's "incredible life story," an obviously irritated Weir jumped in, exclaiming: "She has an infant -- she has an infant with special needs. Will that affect her campaigning?" David Wright, Weir and co-host Kate Snow all found ways to tag Palin as conservative, with Snow calling her "quite conservative," but a week earlier, nobody on the same program thought it worth mentioning that Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden was liberal.

8. No Morning Labels for Liberal Joe Biden, But for Sarah Palin...
Just as on Friday night (see #9 below), the big broadcast networks on Saturday morning showed no shyness about labeling Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin a "conservative," with NBC Today co-host Amy Robach calling her "a staunch conservative," CBS's Chip Reid tagging her "reliably conservative," and ABC's Kate Snow finding Palin to be "quite conservative." But seven days earlier, as those same programs reacted to the Obama campaign's text message heralding Joe Biden as the Democratic vice presidential candidate, none of those broadcast found a moment to call him "liberal," in spite of Biden's lengthy record of liberal votes.

9. Evening Shows Call Palin 'Conservative,' Didn't Tag Biden Liberal
On Saturday night, August 23, in multiple stories on all three broadcast network evening shows about Barack Obama's VP pick, Senator Joe Biden was never described as a liberal. Friday night, August 29, however, CBS and NBC accurately tagged John McCain's selection, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, as "reliably conservative" or a "solid conservative" -- and that's not counting references to how she will shore up support for McCain amongst conservatives.

10. Matt Lauer Questions Experience of 'Staunch Conservative' Palin
Just minutes after the news arrived that John McCain had selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate on Friday, Today host Matt Lauer broke into regular coverage and began labeling her as a "staunch conservative" and a "stalwart conservative." The Today show avoided using ideological labels for Barack Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, during the Democratic convention.

11. Morning Shows on Friday All Hailed Obama's Convention Speech
After each of the first three nights of the Democratic convention, network news reporters have offered enthusiastically positive reviews, and Friday morning's coverage of Barack Obama's acceptance address made it a clean sweep. CBS Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, the only morning show host still in Denver, said he felt the earth moving. "This place rumbled....The stadium was just so alive, and the ground was almost quaking," he told co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez who voiced pity for John McCain: "Harry, I found myself at one point last night thinking how difficult it must be for John McCain to watch such a huge celebration in honor of his opponent, especially on the eve of his 72nd birthday." Over on ABC, George Stephanopoulos asserted that the mere act of speaking in a tough tone of voice "answered questions about whether he was ready to be Commander-in-Chief." His enthusiastic review of the week: "I don't think this convention could have gone any better for the Democrats."

12. Maher: Matthews and Olbermann 'Were Ready to Have Sex with' Obama
The media in general, and MSNBC in particular, are so far into the tank for Barack Obama that even the far-left Bill Maher, on his HBO show Friday night, recognized "there is a problem...with the media gushing over him too much." Specifically, though he didn't name co-anchors Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, Maher pointed to MSNBC's coverage following Obama's acceptance speech: "The coverage after, that I was watching, from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him."

13. FNC's Hemmer Stunned by Maher's 'Ready to Have Sex' MSNBC Rebuke
Stunning Fox News Watch host Bill Hemmer, panelist Jim Pinkerton, picking up on a NewsBusters (the MRC's blog) post with video ("Maher: Matthews and Olbermann 'Were Ready to Have Sex with' Obama") [see #12 above], from just hours before the FNC show aired live at 6:30 PM EDT Saturday from St. Paul, pointed out that MSNBC's Democratic convention coverage was so adulatory that it led to: "Bill Maher, who's no conservative, who hates Bush, to joke that he thinks that Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews want to have sex with Obama. That's no slap at Obama, of course. He's innocent." As the other panelists laughed, Hemmer was incredulous, interjecting "whoa, whoa" before pressing for corroboration: "Bill Maher said that?!" Pinkerton, Cal Thomas and Juan Williams all chimed in with confirmation and then Hemmer, putting his finger to his earpiece, informed viewers: "I'm hearing that we have a sound clip of that. Do we? Alright, roll it. Here's Bill Maher." Viewers were treated to the video of Maher from his Friday night HBO show: "I think there is a problem, though, with the media gushing over him too much. I don't think he thinks that he's all that, but the media does. I mean, the coverage after, that I was watching, from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him."

14. 'Top Ten Surprises in Obama's Democratic Convention Address'
Letterman's "Top Ten Surprises in Barack Obama's Democratic National Convention Address."


Bennett Rebukes CNN for Using Palin's
Daughter to Score Points

Late Monday afternoon live on CNN, Bill Bennett rebuked -- as an "outrageous" piece of "advocacy" and "attack journalism" that "has no place on CNN" -- a story the channel had just run which used the pregnancy of Sarah Palin's daughter to score political points by relaying as fact the talking points on sex education from a left-wing group. A defensive Wolf Blitzer kept saying "hold on" as he tried to justify raising the supposed hypocrisy.

Live from Anchorage at 5:33 PM EDT/4:33 PM CDT/1:33 PM ADT, Kyra Phillips revealed "there were a number of things that we were sent here to investigate," including "trooper-gate," but before that, she stressed "here's what's interesting," that Palin "has gone on the record and said that she is in full support of abstinence, and that she doesn't believe in contraception on school grounds and sex education." Phillips then highlighted: "The Alliance for Reproductive Justice...says abstinence doesn't work, we've got to have better sex education in schools and this is just one example, this just underscores -- the pregnancy of the Governor's daughter -- to why we need sex education in schools."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted, with video, Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The domain name for the Alliance for Reproductive Justice, an Anchorage-based group, makes clear its agenda: alaskaprochoice.org: www.alaskaprochoice.org

Its "resources" page also shows it is first and foremost a pro-abortion organization: www.alaskaprochoice.org

Phillips had introduced the subject: "Let's go ahead and talk about the pregnancy here of Bristol Palin. And what we've been able to find out, and certain individuals that we've been able to talk to, just to talk more about where the Governor stands, actually on sex, teenage pregnancy, sex before marriage, and issues that she has gone on the record with. Strong opinions. And what is now happening within her family."

Before moving on to "trooper-gate," Phillips threatened: "So we're investigating more, of course, about the family, and the kids."

Phillips' Monday, September 1 reporting on the pregnancy/sex education from a fairly dark daytime Alaska, followed by Bennett's reaction from the floor of the Xcel Center in St. Paul, site of the delayed Republican convention:

KYRA PHILLIPS: There were a number of things that we were sent here to investigate. I can talk about trooper-gate in just a moment. But let's go ahead and talk about the pregnancy here of Bristol Palin. And what we've been able to find out, and certain individuals that we've been able to talk to, just to talk more about where the Governor stands, actually on sex, teenage pregnancy, sex before marriage, and issues that she has gone on the record with. Strong opinions. And what is now happening within her family.
Let's go ahead and start with her daughter, 17-year-old daughter. The rumors began, and what we started asking yesterday, when we hit the ground running, and actually over the weekend, if anybody was able to confirm these rumors, that this baby, this brand-new baby that the Governor just had recently, was that of her daughter's, and not hers. And that she was trying to cover up this pregnancy. There was even a picture, Wolf, that was circulating on the Internet saying, look, "here's the Governor. She's supposed to be six months pregnant but she doesn't look like she's pregnant at all." That got everybody talking and the rumors were just swirling. As we started to ask questions, as we started to investigate this, the next thing we knew, McCain aides were saying, we're going to have an announcement on this. We need you to stand by. And that's when we found out about the pregnancy of her teenage daughter.
Now here's what's interesting. She has gone on the record, the Governor has gone on the record and said that she is in full support of abstinence, and that she doesn't believe in contraception on school grounds and sex education. We had a chance to actually talk to someone just a short time ago that's involved with the Alliance for Reproductive Justice. And this is an organization that says abstinence doesn't work, we've got to have better sex education in schools and this is just one example, this underscores -- the pregnancy of the Governor's daughter -- to why we need sex education in schools. And went into more details on how there have been studies done, that here in the state of Alaska, there's a high number of STDs, that teenage pregnancy is a tremendous problem and no matter how much you talk to your child about not having sex before marriage, or having sex as a teenager, this is what can happen.
We've found out more about the kids, more about the family. Also, during the race for Governor, a lot came out about the kids. And that these are typical teenagers. They're not perfect. And that there have been typical teenage issues that the Governor has had to deal with, while also being in the political limelight. So we're investigating more, of course, about the family, and the kids. And it really points out, Wolf, the struggle that Governor Palin is going to have, not only as a mother, but also a political leader, if indeed she gets to the next level. She's going to see more criticism, and a lot of people being tougher on her and her family.

.....

WOLF BLITZER: Kyra, stand by. We're watching this story. I want Bill Bennett to weigh in. Bill, you heard the two stories, really, totally unrelated: A bitter divorce, a bitter custody battle involving her ex-brother-in-law and sister, and the charge being, she called this commissioner and she pressured him, in effect, to go ahead and fire the trooper. He says that publicly. The trooper was never fired. She denies there was any inappropriate political pressure from the Governor to go ahead and fire her ex-brother-in-law.
BILL BENNETT: This is the kind of story that can be appropriately looked at because this is about ethics, ethics in government. Same kinds of questions people have asked about Barack Obama and Rezko, Barack Obama and Bill Ayres. These are serious questions. This is a question about Sarah Palin. I know it was vetted by the McCain campaign, I know we've all been reading about it.
But that first piece of attack of journalism, Wolf, I got to speak to. We all praised Barack Obama, myself included, for saying, do not use the case of this child to start to beat up Sarah Palin and to use this as an opportunity to make points for the Center for Reproductive Pregnancy [Alliance for Reproductive Rights]. That was really out and out outrageous. That should not happen on CNN.
BLITZER: You know it will, Bill. It will generate- Hold on, you know it will generate a discussion about-
BENNETT: On the blogs
BLITZER: Hold on. It will generate a discussion over those who say abstinence only should be taught versus formal sex education, birth control pills, and all of that. And to have a discussion about those issues is totally appropriate.
BENNETT: Totally appropriate separated from this context. That's to the point. That's what Barack Obama said. Do not drag this girl's situation into having a discussion of that.
BLITZER: But it's going to spark a discussion, a debate which has been around for a long time.
BENNETT: Fine, we'll get in it, I'll get in it. My wife will get in it. These are legitimate issues. She just violated everything -- we all praised Barack Obama.
BLITZER: But hold on. What do you think? Should abstinence be taught or should there be formal sex education taught in school?
BENNETT: There should be formal sex education-
BLITZER: You're a former Secretary of Education.
BENNETT: Absolutely and I know the issues very well. What we should do is what's most effective. Abstinence education I believe, the best programs are the most effective. But these are decisions that can be made at the state level. But that bit of advocacy has no place on CNN and its respectable journalism.

....

BENNETT: And public policy. The fact that her daughter got pregnant does not refute the public policy decision and we can discuss those separately. But what Barack Obama has -- I'll invoke him again, has asked us to do is not drag that family, that daughter's situation into this public policy discussion.
BLITZER: It's fair enough. But you know that there is going to be a debate now. The whole issue of abstinence.

CBS: Right Might Have Been Hypocrites
on Pregnant Chelsea Clinton

Instead of just flat-out making a hypocrisy accusation against "the social conservatives" who "are rallying behind" Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin following news her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, CBS's Jeff Greenfield suggested "very conservative Republicans" may be hypocrites based on how they might have reacted eleven years ago. On Monday's CBS Evening News, Greenfield, at the site of the delayed Republican convention, felt compelled to share:
"The one question that occurs to me is if 17-year-old Chelsea Clinton had become pregnant while living in the White House, would the reaction on the part of the Family Research Council and other very conservative Republicans been the same? Maybe it would have been, but it's a question worth asking."

Meanwhile, during the CBS News special at 10 PM EDT, Katie Couric whined to Nicolle Wallace of the McCain campaign: "Why wasn't the campaign, your campaign more pro-active about releasing this information? Why did you wait until sort of rumors and innuendos forced your hand?" Couric implied Bristol Palin's pregnancy should have disqualified her mother and suggested Sarah Palin was not putting her daughter's interests first.

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Couric's first two questions to Wallace:

- "Now I understand that this information, this news about Sarah Palin's daughter did, in fact, come out during the vetting process. When Senator McCain or the McCain campaign was told of this, did it give them or the Senator any pause?"

- "So during the vetting process, did Governor Palin ever express concern to you all that this might be too much to put her daughter through -- this white hot light of scrutiny and publicity?"

After inquiring about why the campaign was not "more pro-active about releasing this information," Couric moved on to questions about Palin's "professional credentials" and what Wallace guessed to be a question about Palin only being Governor for two years '€" satellite break-up for Couric in New Orleans meant only a few of her words could be heard.

Back to the September 1 Evening News, Greenfield's initial take on the Palin pregnancy and the fears of "graybeard" and "elitist" Republicans:
"On the Sarah Palin-Bristol Palin story about the child: The social conservatives are rallying behind her completely. The Family Research Council, one of the most significant groups, put out a statement saying the decision to marry and have a child is in full sync with family values. I think it's fair to say among the more traditional, maybe graybeard, maybe elitist Republicans -- if that's the right word -- there is some concern about what this tells us about the vetting process and a lot of concern about the fact that Governor Palin is so unknown that there may be stuff out there about her political background, financial background, the fact that she was for that infamous bridge to nowhere before she came out against it may not have been known to the McCain people. That's the sort of thing they're worried about, Katie."

Kroft Cues Up Obama to Agree Palin 'Has
Less Experience than You'

CBS's 60 Minutes led Sunday night with a taped interview with the Democratic ticket and in the piece Steve Kroft, who couldn't resist labeling Sarah Palin as a "conservative" while never tagging Joe Biden, presumed as fact that Palin "has less experience" than Obama and cued up Obama to agree with his own campaign's rhetoric about how Palin undermines McCain's experience argument: "Does the fact that he chose as his Vice President someone who has less experience than you take that weapon out of his arsenal?"

On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams pursued the same media narrative as he pressed McCain about how as "a 72-year-old cancer survivor" he chose "a not yet one full term Governor of Alaska. Is she the best person to be literally a heartbeat away from the presidency, Senator?" McCain rejected the premise and, without even knowing it, countered Kroft:
"She's been in elected office longer than Senator Obama. She's been the chief executive of the state that supplies 20 percent of America's energy, she has balanced budgets. She's had executive experience as Governor, as Mayor, as a city council member and PTA. So she was in elected office when Senator Obama was still a quote 'community organizer.'"

Williams, however, remained unconvinced: "But you know the question, Senator, given the field, given all that we know, is she the best person to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?"

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Palin was first elected to the Wasilla city council in 1992 and has held statewide office since 2003 (chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission before becoming Governor in December of 2006). Obama assumed his state senate seat in 1997 and, though a U.S. Senator since 2005, he soon after launched his presidential run and has hardly been working as a Senator.

Bottom line: As traditionally measured for politicians, neither has all that much experience, especially compared to McCain or Biden, and while whose life experience makes them better-qualified to become the #2 or #1 can be debated, it was ridiculous for Kroft to assert as a fact that Palin "has less experience" than Obama, especially since he's going for the top spot.

Kroft also, as noted above, never applied an ideological label to either Obama or Biden, but didn't hesitate with Palin: "Senator McCain tried to steal the Democrats' thunder by announcing that Alaska's conservative first-term Governor, 44-year-old Sarah Palin, would be his running mate."

Kroft set up the lead piece, the only one that was not a re-run, on the Sunday, August 31 60 Minutes, by proclaiming Obama had succeeded in all his goals in Denver:

Senator Obama went into the Democratic convention locked in a dead heat with Republican rival John McCain, and needed to do three things: Introduce his running mate, Joe Biden, to the country; draw sharp distinctions between himself and his Republican opponent; and unify a Democratic Party badly split by a bruising primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. By most accounts, he accomplished all three. He attracted 84,000 people to Invesco Field in Denver, and another 40 million to their television sets all across America. More Americans saw the speech than watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

From near the top of the interview taped Friday in Pittsburgh:

KROFT: Senator McCain tried to steal the Democrats' thunder by announcing that Alaska's conservative first-term Governor, 44-year-old Sarah Palin, would be his running mate, a move widely seen as an attempt to try and siphon disaffected supporters of Senator Clinton and blue-collar voters in battleground states where Obama has been the weakest. A few hours after the announcement, Senators Obama and Biden seemed as surprised as everyone else.
What do you think of Senator McCain's vice presidential choice?
OBAMA: She seems to have a compelling life story. Obviously, she's a fine mother and an up-and-coming public servant. My sense is that she subscribes to John McCain's agenda.
KROFT: Does the fact that he chose as his Vice President someone who has less experience than you take that weapon out of his arsenal?
OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that's a good question to address to Senator McCain. Of course, the issue of experience is going to be relevant. And if I were running against me, that's something that I would try to make an issue of as well, particularly if I had been in Washington as long as John McCain has.
KROFT: She's a lifelong member of the NRA. She's a hunter. Her husband's a member of the United Steel Worker union, blue- collar guy. Got a son on the way to Iraq. It seems like just the kind of person who would appeal to voters in states that you absolutely have to win and they have to win.

The CBSNews.com online version of the story: www.cbsnews.com

From the second half of the interview, taped in St. Louis and which began which questions about changes to the GOP convention because of Hurricane Gustav, as aired on the Sunday, August 31 NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: You've heard the commentators I know, and by repeating it I mean no disrespect, a 72-year-old cancer survivor picks a not yet one full term Governor of Alaska. Is she the best person to be literally a heartbeat away from the presidency, Senator?
JOHN McCAIN: Well, let me just point out, facts are funny things. She's been in elected office longer than Senator Obama. She's been the chief executive of the state that supplies 20 percent of America's energy, she has balanced budgets. She's had executive experience as Governor, as mayor, as a city council member and PTA. So she was in elected office when Senator Obama was still a quote "community organizer." He's never had one day of executive experience. I think it's almost ludicrous to compare her experience in elected office and as a leader of one of the most important states in America, certainly the largest, and compare her experience with his. It's no contest.
WILLIAMS: But you know the question, Senator, given the field, given all that we know, is she the best person to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?
McCAIN: Oh, sure. In every way. In every way that I know of. She has experience. She's been an executive. She knows how to balance budgets. She knows how towns and cities work. And in all due respect to every American, I think the example that she has set of home and family and service and putting our country first, I think, frankly it inspires me.
WILLIAMS: It's been reported in today's papers, without diminishing Governor Palin, you really wanted Joe Lieberman and some conservative state chairs threatened a floor fight over that?
McCAIN: I have no knowledge of that. Look, the close relationship I have with my beloved friend Joe Lieberman. The last words he said before I made the selection, he said "John, I want you to do what is best for this country and I'll be at your side." And I was very touched by that.

MSNBC: 'Fire-Breather' Palin 'Makes Obama
Look Like John Adams'

On Friday's Countdown show, while appearing as a guest, Newsweek's Howard Fineman, also an MSNBC political analyst, contended that, regarding her level of experience, Sarah Palin "makes Barack Obama look like John Adams." Host Keith Olbermann called her "the least experienced vice presidential candidate probably in American history," and repeatedly applied labels to her suggesting extremism, calling her "fanatically anti-abortion," "hard right," "global warming denying," a "rabid conservative," a "red meat conservative," and a "fire-breather."

Picking up on a joke by Fineman that there are not many "pro-drilling, anti-polar bear, and anti-abortion women" who were Hillary Clinton supporters who would move to support Palin, Olbermann asked Fineman: "Was her real appeal the fact that she is a red meat conservative? I mean, she is, as you suggested, pro-drilling. She's this side of 'melt the Arctic,' this side of 'imprison abortionists,' she's run up the debt, 'purge the lefties' fire-breather."

Olbermann called Palin "fanatically anti-abortion" in the show's teaser: "The 20-month veteran, the two-term mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 9,236, the mayor who won the award for tree care from the National Arbor Day Foundation in 2002, the governor who was for the 'Bridge to Nowhere' before she was against it -- 'the' Sarah Palin? Senator McCain's 'Hail Mary' described as the biggest political gamble of our time, picking an ex-beauty queen governor on the job only 20 months, fanatically anti-abortion and pro-gun, in a desperate play for Hillary Clinton supporters."

[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Monday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

During the show's introduction, Olbermann called her a "rabid conservative" and questioned the level of her experience: "The Republicans have selected the least experienced vice presidential candidate probably in American history -- a rabid conservative, seemingly a vague kind of alternative to Hillary Clinton, except that last March, the Governor claimed Senator Clinton was, quote, 'whining about the primaries.'"

Fineman soon came aboard and joked about the lack of "pro-drilling, anti-polar bear, and anti-abortion women" who were Clinton supporters: "Well, Keith, there are a lot of pro-drilling, anti-polar bear, and anti-abortion women among those 18 million Hillary supporters, I'm sure. I'm being facetious. I don't think there are that many left. And I don't think this really was about that. I think, in big picture terms, it was about John McCain seeking to change things up, to try to reestablish his maverick credentials because despite her lack of experience, Sarah Palin is a brave, political person, having taken on her own political party the way John McCain used to do."

The Countdown host then asked: "Well, there's something else here that's sort of being overlooked in the sort of focus, 'Oh, she's a woman, oh, she's a newcomer.' Was her real appeal the fact that she is a red meat conservative? I mean, she is, as you suggested, pro-drilling. She's this side of 'melt the Arctic,' this side of 'imprison abortionists,' she's run up the debt, 'purge the lefties' fire-breather."

While answering a question from Olbermann about why McCain was giving up being able to use the issue of experience against Obama by picking Palin as his running mate, Fineman made his claim that Obama is substantially more experienced than Palin: "[McCain has] done it at great cost because the whole Republican convention -- I was told, and was reporting for the magazine and on the Web -- was going to be the slogan, 'He's not ready to lead,' meaning Barack Obama. Well, Sarah Palin makes Barack Obama look like John Adams. I mean, it's just, it's no contest."

A rare bright spot from Olbermann came during an interview with Air America's Rachel Maddow when the Countdown host elaborated a bit on the investigation of Palin over her attempt to have a state trooper who was her brother-in-law fired, which makes Palin's position sound sympathetic because of the state trooper's violent tendencies: "And the investigation that's going on of the governor in Alaska. This is really a non-starter for her critics, as juicy as it might seem on the surface, right? I mean, she may have fired the guy who didn't fire the trooper who had been married to her sister, but the guy was beating up the sister and tasering their 11-year-old kid. I mean, no woman would see that and would not give her a round of applause, and the same goes for a lot of men, too. That's a non-starter politically, right?"

A bit later, during an interview with Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, Olbermann labeled Palin as "hard right." Olbermann: "The McCain answer to [Obama's] speech last night, which included, by my count, like 19 punches to McCain in that speech, there was a tepid statement last night. Today everything was Miss Wasilla for VP. Did they not, did the McCain camp not need to hit back hard after last night because if he chooses a hard right, global warming-denying, pro-drilling, lifetime NRA member as an answer to Obama's speech, isn't that McCain saying, in effect, 'I agree with everything Barack Obama just said about me'?"

Clift Reveals: In 'Many Newsrooms' Palin
Greeted by 'Laughter'

Newsweek's Eleanor Clift disclosed on the McLaughlin Group -- seemingly without any compunction for how she was outing her fellow journalists as behaving the same way as Barack Obama's campaign staff, but I suppose we already knew that intuitively -- that John McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for VP was greeted by "literally laughter" in "very many newsrooms." From the show taped on Friday at Washington, DC's CBS affiliate and which aired at various times over the weekend around the nation, mostly PBS stations:

ELEANOR CLIFT: This is not a serious choice. It makes it look like a made for TV movie. If the media reaction is anything, it's been literally laughter in many places across news-
JOHN McLAUGHLIN, TALKING OVER CLIFT: Where is that? See that?
CLIFT: In very, very many newsrooms.

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Saturday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Earlier, Clift had more fully elucidated on her disdain for Palin, including the ultimate liberal media insult of comparing Palin negatively to Dan Quayle:

She doesn't meet the initial threshold of being seen as a credible President should the need arise for her to step into that position. She's been in the Governor's office since 2006 and before that, her elective experience was in the Wasilla City Council where she then became Mayor. Population five thousand, five-hundred and five. I guess that's where she learned about the budget. It seems to me this is a blatant attempt to woo disaffected Hillary voters and it is such a misreading of what women care about.

....

This is a pick on the par of Dan Quayle where the first President Bush went for the youth vote. And Dan Quayle had a lot more experience on the national stage than this woman does. Now maybe she'll perform fine, but I thought the verbal factor was pretty high this morning and she doesn't apparently know very much about foreign policy or most domestic issues.

CNN's John Roberts: Palin Might Neglect
Her Disabled Infant?

CNN's John Roberts, after briefly alluding to the issue of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's experience he called into question earlier on Friday's Newsroom program, asked correspondent Dana Bash about how the Alaska governor's newborn son with Down's syndrome might be affected if she were elected: "There's also this issue that on April 18th, she gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome....Children with Down's syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?"

Bash deftly answered this question, which has the implication that Palin could neglect her infant son, and made a possible counter-argument that the McCain camp might use, that a question like Roberts' would be sexist: "That's a very good question, and I guess -- my guess is that, perhaps, the line inside the McCain campaign would be, if it were a man being picked who also had a baby, but -- you know, four months ago with Down's Syndrome, would you ask the same question?"

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For Roberts' earlier comment about Palin, see Lyndsi Thomas's August 29 NewsBusters.org item, "CNN's Roberts: Palin Too Young and Inexperienced" at: newsbusters.org

The CNN correspondent continued by briefly describing the Palin's family situation and the thinking that may have gone into the situation for both McCain and Palin herself. She concluded by reporting on the Alaska governor's appeal to social conservatives because she is "very staunchly anti-abortion," in Bash's words.

The full transcript of the exchange between John Roberts and Dana Bash, which began 7 minutes into the 11am Eastern hour of CNN's Newsroom on Friday, August 29:

JOHN ROBERTS: You know, there's one other issue -- we've talked about her experience and what depth of experience she has; the fact that maybe she tries to peel off a few women voters on the Democratic side, who really wanted to see a woman in the White House in some way, shape, or form. There's also this issue that on April 18th, she gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome.
DANA BASH: Yes.
ROBERTS: The baby is just slightly more than four months old now. Children with Down's syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?
BASH: That's a very good question, and I guess -- my guess is that, perhaps, the line inside the McCain campaign would be, if it were a man being picked who also had a baby, but -- you know, four months ago with Down's Syndrome, would you ask the same question? And that might be another way to kind of, you know, kind of close the gender gap in trying to make the point that, yes, she not only has, unfortunately, a baby with Down's Syndrome, but she has five children, the oldest of whom is apparently going -- is in the Army and going to head off to Iraq in the fall. So, you know, it absolutely is going to be a question that she is going to have to answer, and there's no question that she had to do soul-searching and figure out if she could take this on when John McCain made clear that he wanted her to be her [sic] running mate, and it is going to be one of the interesting things that we are going to be able to hear from her when she finally does speaks, whether she does address these things here or in subsequent interviews.
That's going to be a fascinating thing, but it also does -- it also does appeal to social conservatives in another way, and that is that, you know, part of her story, if you read her discussions about that baby, is that, you know, she knew before she gave birth to that baby, that it had Down's Syndrome, and she chose to keep the baby. And that is -- that is because she is somebody who is anti-abortion. She is somebody who is very staunchly anti-abortion. That kind of story, also, can help appeal to the social conservatives that John McCain is still trying to win over in his own party.

GMA Saturday's Weir Impugns Sarah Palin
as a Neglectful Mother

On ABC's Good Morning America on Saturday, co-anchor Bill Weir bristled with hostility during an interview with a McCain campaign spokesman about the choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate, suggesting she was unqualified and too conservative. At one point, Weir even suggested that by running for Vice President, the Governor would be jeopardizing her four-month old daughter, who has Down's Syndrome.

Weir confronted McCain political director Mike DuHaime: "Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the Senator, and the Governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?" When DuHaime offered a general answer about Palin's "incredible life story," an obviously irritated Weir jumped in, exclaiming: "She has an infant -- she has an infant with special needs. Will that affect her campaigning?"

[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Saturday morning, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Just a few moments later, that line of questioning was quickly criticized by ABC's Cokie Roberts as sexist. Without mentioning Weir, Roberts said questions "about who's taking care of the children...traditionally has very much angered women voters when women candidates are asked those questions and male candidates never are."

Earlier, reporter David Wright sarcastically noted that McCain and Palin campaigning "looked a little like father and daughter out for an ice cream." Wright, Weir and co-host Kate Snow all found ways to tag Palin as conservative, with Snow calling her "quite conservative," but a week earlier, nobody on the same program thought it worth mentioning that Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden was liberal.

Weir's approach was the most obviously contemptuous of Palin, as he suggested the Governor was only picked because she was a woman; was too conservative for doubting that global warming is manmade; and finally was skipping out on her Down's syndrome daughter. Here are all of the questions he posed to DuHaime

# Now joining us from Minneapolis, the political director for the McCain campaign, Mike DuHaime. Mike, good morning....Uh, how many hours did John McCain spend with Governor Palin before he chose her?

# If a man had this exact resume as the Governor, would he be the running mate this morning?
[DUHAIME: I believe so.... ]

# Governor Palin, on the record, opposes abortion. She opposes gun control, the theory of evolution, uh, being taught in schools. Also, she disagrees with the belief that global warming is manmade. That, all of that, may thrill Christian conservatives, but why would a feminist Hillary Clinton supporter vote for that ticket?
[DUHAIME: Well, I think really Hillary Clinton supporters, or anybody, are going to be making a choice between Senator McCain and Senator Obama, and what you've got there is Senator McCain with somebody who has the judgment, who has the experience, who has the life story of somebody who is ready right now to be President. Senator Obama clearly doesn't.]
WEIR, INTERRUPTING: But you don't hope that this choice -- you don't hope this choice lures some female voters?
[DUHAIME: Well, I certainly hope -- I think we had a great opportunity for female voters before. I think we've got that now....]

# And, and, must ask, adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the Senator, and the Governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?
DUHAIME, PUZZLED: In terms of her personal life? You know, I think, you know, the extent that people want to look at her, she's got an incredible life story with five children, with a son going into the military. She's got-
WEIR, INTERRUPTING: She has an infant -- she has an infant with special needs. Will that affect her campaigning?
DUHAIME: I don't believe it will affect her campaigning. I don't believe it will affect it at all.
WEIR: Okay. Appreciate your time this morning. Mike DuHaime.
DUHAIME: Sure thing, Bill. Thanks.

Moments later, as she analyzed the Palin pick with co-host Kate Snow, ABC's Cokie Roberts scolded such questioning as a reflecting a double standard that only women candidates face:

KATE SNOW: Well, how will the nomination play out there particularly with women voters? Let's turn to Cokie Roberts, ABC News longtime contributor who joins us now from Washington. Good morning, Cokie....Let me ask you about Gail Collins this morning, a columnist in the New York Times, has written a scathing column this morning talking about the choice and basically suggesting that the only reason the Governor was chosen was because she is a woman, and let me quote from Gail Collins, she says, '€˜the idea that women are going to race off to vote for any candidate with the same internal plumbing is both offensive and historically wrong.' What do you think?
COKIE ROBERTS: That's correct, that women do not necessarily vote for women. However, if you get a lot of questions about who's taking care of the children, it might make people angry enough to vote for her, because that is something that traditionally has very much angered women voters when women candidates are asked those questions and male candidates never are. But, look, the people she's going to appeal to among the Hillary Clinton voters are not feminist suburban independent or Republican women necessarily. It's going to be much more the blue-collar Democrats who we've come to call Reagan Democrats who have not settled on Barack Obama. Women have settled on Barack Obama. His entire lead in the polls going into the Democratic convention was among women. So it is other voters, other than women, that Sarah Palin is really aimed at.
SNOW: So you're saying it's men that she might attract.
ROBERTS: It's men.
SNOW: She is quite conservative, right? I mean she's, as Bill pointed out, she's anti-abortion, she's for gun rights. She's got quite a conservative record.
ROBERTS: Well, and on some -- on a lot of those issues you've had a lot of Democrats who have been economic Democrats and social Republicans. But, look, it's not just issues that make the difference here. It's an out of Washington, breath of fresh air, definitely a reformer -- and once Obama picked Biden as the ultimate Washington insider and expert and grown-up, McCain started looking someplace else and the frontrunner for a while was Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota, and the same criticisms would have been there of Tim Pawlenty as are there of Sarah Palin: No foreign policy experience, very little governmental experience, period. So as long as he was going to face those kinds of objections, why not go for a woman? Why not make some history?

No Morning Labels for Liberal Joe Biden,
But for Sarah Palin...

Just as on Friday night (see #9 below), the big broadcast networks on Saturday morning showed no shyness about labeling Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin a "conservative," with NBC Today co-host Amy Robach calling her "a staunch conservative," CBS's Chip Reid tagging her "reliably conservative," and ABC's Kate Snow finding Palin to be "quite conservative."

But seven days earlier, as those same programs reacted to the Obama campaign's text message heralding Joe Biden as the Democratic vice presidential candidate, none of those broadcast found a moment to call him "liberal," in spite of Biden's lengthy record of liberal votes as determined by the nonpartisan National Journal: www.nationaljournal.com

[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Saturday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Here's a quick rundown of how the three broadcast networks emphasized Palin's ideology on their Saturday, August 30 morning programs:

# ABC's Good Morning America:

- DAVID WRIGHT: For the GOP, this is a first....a chance to make history and, for McCain, reach out to two key constituencies....women and conservatives. The youngest of Palin's five children, born in April, has Down's syndrome, but she never once considered an abortion, on moral grounds. Palin's conservative values make her the kind of candidate some think the party needs.
MATTHEW DOWD: I think it will create an unbelievable amount of energy among that group in the Republican party.

- BILL WEIR, interviewing McCain staffer Mike DuHaime: Governor Palin, on the record, opposes abortion. She opposes gun control, the theory of evolution, uh, being taught in schools. Also, she disagrees with the belief that global warming is manmade. That, all of that, may thrill Christian conservatives, but why would a feminist Hillary Clinton supporter vote for that ticket?

- KATE SNOW, to ABC's Cokie Roberts: She is quite conservative, right? I mean she's, as Bill pointed out, she's anti-abortion, she's for gun rights. She's got quite a conservative record.


# CBS's Saturday Early Show

CHIP REID: On most issues, she is reliably conservative, from taxes to abortion, which she fiercely opposes. And her selection has been praised by many conservative activists. But Democrats and some Republicans have sharply questioned why McCain would choose someone with virtually no experience in foreign policy, especially after he criticized Barack Obama as "not ready to lead."

# NBC's Today:

AMY ROBACH: And now to the other big headline of the morning: John McCain's running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a staunch conservative and 40-something mother of five. The new GOP ticket is set to spend the first full day together on the campaign trail. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell is in Pittsburgh....
KELLY O'DONNELL: At 44, Sarah Palin has been governor of Alaska less than two years...Married to a commercial fisherman and mother of five, Palin is a social conservative -- against abortion and for gun rights -- who could energize the party base.

Evening Shows Call Palin 'Conservative,'
Didn't Tag Biden Liberal

On Saturday night, August 23, in multiple stories on all three broadcast network evening shows about Barack Obama's VP pick, Senator Joe Biden was never described as a liberal. Friday night, August 29, however, CBS and NBC accurately tagged John McCain's selection, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, as "reliably conservative" or a "solid conservative" -- and that's not counting references to how she will shore up support for McCain amongst conservatives. On ABC's World News, for instance, David Wright reported: "The McCain campaign also hopes Palin can excite conservatives given her life-long support for gun rights and her opposition to abortion rights." Listing the pros and cons to the pick, CBS's Jeff Greenfield made "delights the right" a plus. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell combined a label with Palin's potential to help McCain: "Palin is a social conservative, against abortion and for gun rights, who could energize the party's base."

On the CBS Evening News, Bob Schieffer dubbed Palin "John McCain Jr." since she's "somebody who is willing to take on her own party." Anchor Katie Couric interjected: "But with conservative principles," to which Schieffer affirmed: "Yeah, with conservative principles." Two other straight-forward labels applied to Palin on the Friday night, August 29 newscasts:

Chip Reid on CBS: "On most issues, she is reliably conservative, agreeing with McCain on the need to cut taxes and slash spending." He also described her as "a fierce opponent of abortion."

John Larson, from Anchorage, on the NBC Nightly News: "Governor Palin is a solid conservative, firmly supporting gun rights and strongly opposing abortion."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Back on Saturday, August 23, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts were bereft of any liberal labels for Biden, though CBS managed to work in a conservative tag. One could argue that Biden was much better known, but the vast majority of the public had little knowledge of his policies or ideology.

Brian Williams, anchoring Nightly News on a Saturday because of the big Biden news, set up a profile of him which cited qualities other than his ideology:
"With Joe Biden now on this ticket, Americans are about to get a crash course in just who Joe Biden is. He's been in the U.S. Senate most of his life. He's an Irish Catholic with roots in Scranton, P-A, and a big base of support in the tiny state of Delaware and they're about to find out what else to know about him. We find out more about Joe Biden from NBC's Andrea Mitchell."

After two stories which did not note Biden's ideology, CBS's Jeff Greenfield surmised how Biden will go after McCain for "actively seeking the support of very conservative ministers." From the August 23 CBS Evening News:

ANCHOR KELLY WALLACE: "Jeff, you know Senator Biden has been very friendly with John McCain in the past. In fact, today he even called John McCain his friend. How does he backtrack now and go after the Republican presidential nominee?"
GREENFIELD: "I think it's more in sorrow than in anger. We heard some of that today from Springfield. I expect him to contrast the John McCain he knew versus the John McCain who won the Republican nomination. He used to be against tax cuts for the rich. Now he's for them. He once called Pat Robertson an agent of intolerance, now he's actively seeking the support of very conservative ministers. I think it will be that kind of tone, the underlying message, which he'll never say is, he's sort of sold his soul to win the nomination."

Matt Lauer Questions Experience of 'Staunch
Conservative' Palin

Just minutes after the news arrived that John McCain had selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate on Friday, Today host Matt Lauer broke into regular coverage and began labeling her as a "staunch conservative" and a "stalwart conservative." The Today show avoided using ideological labels for Barack Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, during Democratic convention.

And although many members of the media have resisted pointing out Obama's inexperience, Lauer immediately seized on the subject for Palin and used Quayle-like "heartbeat away" terminology: "We have a 72 year-old nominee of the Republican Party and the vice presidency...This is a position of a heart beat away and how are people going to feel about Sarah Palin in that situation?" NBC political director Chuck Todd replied by asserting how McCain is "rolling the dice on this. He's absolutely gambling."

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Continuing the inexperience theme, Todd added: "But I'll tell you, there's going to be a lot of questions about whether somebody who was the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska just three years ago, whether she's ready to be commander-in-chief."

In fairness, Todd at least, pointed out Palin could be seen as a bold pick and mentioned that although Democrats mocked another surprise choice, Dan Quayle, the GOP won that 1988 election.

A transcript of the August 29 segment, which aired at 10:40am EDT:

MATT LAUER: And good morning and welcome to this NBC News special report. I am Matt Lauer and NBC News has just learned that Senator John McCain has picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate, which is an unexpected choice. She is 44 years-old. She is Alaska's first female governor, its youngest as well. The mother of five has been serving as the governor of that state for the last two years. Elected in 2006, she's described as a staunch conservative. Let's get the latest on this now from NBC's Kelly O'Donnell and, Kelly, a well kept secret.
KELLY O'DONNELL: Incredibly well kept. It's McCain/Palin '08, Matt. And senior advisors told me just a moment ago that the invitation was extended from Senator McCain to the Alaska governor to join him on this ticket. She will be here with him at noon eastern to appear to be unveiled as the new GOP ticket. Obviously, this is a signal to women voters in particular, because the McCain campaign has been trying very hard to attract women voters, not just Hillary Clinton supporters, but that wide, broad group of women voters who are independents, swing voters who might be attracted to a ticket that also has a woman. It is also an attempt to match history. Of course, we know on the Democratic side, the Obama/Biden is set to break a barrier, should he be elected. Well, now, the Republicans can also say they have a barrier to break with Sarah Palin who would be the first woman vice president, if elected. We expect to hear from this team over the next few days. I expect to be riding the Straight Talk bus with Senator McCain and Governor Palin in just a couple of hours. Matt?
LAUER: All right, Kelly. Let me give our viewers just little bit more information on Sarah Palin. Of course, she is a Washington outsider, stalwart conservative as I mentioned on cultural issues. Pro-life. Belongs to a group called Feminists for Life. She opposes gay marriage. She has extraordinary high approval ratings in the state of Alaska, something over 80 percent and she is a former Miss Alaska runner-up. I want to bring Chuck Todd in right now, our political director, who I believe is still out in Denver this morning. But the question a lot of people are going to ask, Chuck, is this: We have a 72 year-old nominee of the Republican Party and the vice presidency. Although vice presidential candidates don't win or lose elections generally, this is a position of a heart beat away and how are people going to feel about Sarah Palin in that situation?
CHUCK TODD: Well, we shall see. This is a real gamble. Look, John McCain is known as somebody who loves to play craps. He really does. He loves to roll the dice. So, use the cliche all you want. He's rolling the dice on this. He's absolutely gambling. Because they believe, on the trajectory they were on, while he was over-performing where a generic Republican should be in this presidential race, they didn't see a path to getting over 51 percent running a traditional race, picking the traditional, conservative, white male governor, say a Mitt Romney or a Tim Pawlenty. That it just wasn't gonna do it, particularly after they saw that show last night that was put on and Obama and the enthusiasm that Democrats have. They've been wanting to match this enthusiasm in some way, and this will do it, potentially. But I'll tell you, there's going to be a lot of questions about whether somebody who was the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska just three years ago, whether she's ready to be commander-in-chief. And just as you brought up, Matt, because of McCain's age that's going to be an issue. But I was talking to Peter Hart, the Democratic half of our NBC/Wall Street Journal poll and he had a word of warning to Democrats. You know, Every 20 years Republicans do a sort of way outside the box pick. In '68, it was Spiro Agnew and Democrats mocked it. And guess what? They lost that election. In '88, former President Bush picked a guy named Dan Quayle, shocking a lot of people. And guess what? Democrats lost. Well, here we are, 20 years later, a pattern obviously McCain would like to see hold. He's gonna pick somebody way outside the box. But, I'll tell ya, they really wanted to pick a woman. There weren't a lot of choices. There were no obvious people. So this gives them a chance to maybe play the wedge, hope that somehow there's a divide-
LAUER: Right.
TODD: -between the Clinton and Obama folks and maybe they will get something out of it.
LAUER: Alright, Chuck. And as Kelly said it is McCain/Palin '08. That does it for us.

Morning Shows on Friday All Hailed Obama's
Convention Speech

After each of the first three nights of the Democratic convention, network news reporters have offered enthusiastically positive reviews, and Friday morning's coverage of Barack Obama's acceptance address made it a clean sweep. CBS Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, the only morning show host still in Denver, said he felt the earth moving. "This place rumbled....The stadium was just so alive, and the ground was almost quaking," he told co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez.

Rodriguez voiced pity for John McCain: "Harry, I found myself at one point last night thinking how difficult it must be for John McCain to watch such a huge celebration in honor of his opponent, especially on the eve of his 72nd birthday."

[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, Newsbusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Over on ABC, George Stephanopoulos asserted that the mere act of speaking in a tough tone of voice "answered questions about whether he was ready to be Commander-in-Chief." His enthusiastic review of the week: "I don't think this convention could have gone any better for the Democrats."

During the Denver convention, the reporters and anchors on the network morning shows offered no liberal labeling of convention speakers or Democratic policies, and uttered no condemnations of attacks from the podium (although ABC's Jake Tapper on Friday morning gently suggested Obama's speech Thursday night "may have struck some as too negative"). It remains to be seen whether these networks will offer similar treatment of the Republicans, but their approach to previous conventions suggests otherwise.

Here are some key moments from Friday morning's shows, as transcribed by the MRC's Justin McCarthy, Kyle Drennen and Scott Whitlock:

# ABC's George Stephanopoulos offered a solidly positive review, even claiming that Obama's rhetoric on abortion, gay rights and guns "put down a shield" protecting the Democratic ticket from being "hammered by Republicans."

ROBIN ROBERTS: And now for "The Bottom Line" joining us also from Denver, our chief Washington correspondent and host of "This Week," George Stephanopoulos. So did Obama do what he needed to do last night, George?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: And then some, Robin. I think there's no question about that. Jake outlined a lot of what he did in his speech right there. What he showed over the course of the speech is that he understands the problems that people are going through, that he gets it unlike John McCain. He also was not afraid at all to take on John McCain to take on the Republicans and by doing that, by doing it in such a tough, aggressive manner I think he answered questions about whether he was ready to be commander in chief, at least that was the intention and then he did something towards the end of the speech where he also took the issues where Democrats traditionally get hammered by Republicans, issues like abortion, gay rights and guns and put down a shield, a shield and described those issues in a way that a majority or at least the center of the country would understand, would appreciate so I think he got an awful lot done.
ROBERTS: The bar was set high because of all the speeches we heard throughout the week at the convention, do you feel the Democrats accomplished what they set out to this week?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Absolutely. If you look at -- they came into the convention divided, divided between the Clinton forces and the Obama forces, a lot of bad blood. The combination of Senator Clinton's speech, her moving to nominate Barack Obama and then Bill Clinton's tour de force on Wednesday night brought the Clinton and Obama forces back together. And that's point number one. You saw the combination of Michelle Obama's speech, the video and Barack Obama's speech last night introduced the Obamas to the country, make their story part of the American story and then that laid nicely into the agenda he wants to send for the country, so I don't think this convention could have gone any better for the Democrats than it did now it's on to St. Paul for the Republicans.


# Introducing ABC's Good Morning America, Robin Roberts emphasized the "rock star concert" quality to Thursday night's event:

ROBIN ROBERTS: This morning, history.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: I accept your nomination for presidency of the United States.
ROBERTS: At moments looking more like a star-studded rock concert-
STEVIE WONDER: [singing] I know Barack Obama is going to set this country on fire.
ROBERTS: -than a political convention. Barack Obama blasts his opponent as being out of touch.
OBAMA: It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.
ROBERTS: And he says he's ready to lead.
OBAMA: If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to serve as the next commander in chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.


# CBS's Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez were enthusiastic in their review, with Smith talking about how the stadium "rumbled," observing: "I'm just not so sure I've ever witnessed anything like this in all of the politics that I've covered."

HARRY SMITH: A moment in American history. More than 80,000 brought to their feet as Barack Obama lays the groundwork for his battle with John McCain....
MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Good morning, Harry. What a crescendo last night.
SMITH: Yeah, I'll tell you, I -- we were in Mile-High Stadium, we were there for a long while before the actual speech took place. The -- this is the aftermath, of course, when the families, Joe Biden's family and Michelle and the children were on the stage. But I'm just not so sure I've ever witnessed anything like this in all of the politics that I've covered, which goes back quite a few years already. This place rumbled. And there were certain points during the speech when the stadium was just so alive, and the ground was almost quaking. It was almost like when the Broncos score a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders. It was really quite a night. And we'll analyze Barack Obama's speech. We'll see what he had to say. He's already getting a bounce this week in some of the polls....
RODRIGUEZ: Harry, I found myself at one point last night thinking how difficult it must be for John McCain to watch such a huge celebration in honor of his opponent, especially on the eve of his 72nd birthday....


# In their overviews of Obama's speech, ABC's Jake Tapper and NBC's David Gregory suggested the nominee had gone into great detail about his plans and policies. But CBS's Bill Plante was less impressed than his colleagues: "He did offer some specifics, but not very many."

JAKE TAPPER: Criticized in the past for giving speeches long on oratory and short on specifics, Obama mentioned at least 35 specific policy proposals.
BARACK OBAMA: Let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president. Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

DAVID GREGORY: Responding to criticism that his call for change lacks specifics, Obama issued a blueprint, cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, break our dependence on Middle Eastern oil in a decade, end the war in Iraq by a date certain. Extend affordable health care to all Americans.
OBAMA: What the naysayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's about you.

vs.

BILL PLANTE: Obama promised to spell out exactly what change would mean. And he did offer some specifics, but not very many. His real aim seemed to be to tie John McCain as tightly as possible to George W. Bush, and that, I think, is what you're going to hear as he hits the campaign trail.

Maher: Matthews and Olbermann 'Were Ready
to Have Sex with' Obama

The media in general, and MSNBC in particular, are so far into the tank for Barack Obama that even the far-left Bill Maher, on his HBO show Friday night, recognized "there is a problem...with the media gushing over him too much." Specifically, though he didn't name co-anchors Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, Maher pointed to MSNBC's coverage following Obama's acceptance speech: "The coverage after, that I was watching, from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him."

Maher's assessment, ironically enough, came in the midst of his panel (CBS Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and NPR's Michel Martin) all effusively praising, along with Maher, Obama's Thursday night address concluding the Democratic Convention in Denver. Maher's full rebuke on the August 29 Real Time with Bill Maher: "I think there is a problem, though, with the media gushing over him too much. I don't think he thinks that he's all that, but the media does. I mean, the coverage after, that I was watching, from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him....It's embarrassing."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Earlier, Maher revealed that after watching Obama he finally understood, at least in his oddly conveyed manner, why conservatives are so enamored with Ronald Reagan:
I think I had a Reagan moment last night. I sort of understood when I was watching him make that speech what the Republicans feel when they talk about Ronald Reagan because I was always like, "why are they so gay about this guy?" I mean they just love him. They want to put him on a mountain and on the dollar bill and name airports after him....

We've had Democrats for so long absorbing their bullshit and this was a guy who was saying "No, I'm going to throw it right back in your face." And to me this was very cathartic. I had a cathart!

HBO's page for Maher's weekly program: www.hbo.com

As for the gushing by Matthews and Olbermann, the Friday CyberAlert post, with video, "Chris Matthews: 'To Hell With My Critics,' Obama 'Inspires Me!'" recounted:

Chris Matthews shook the proverbial fist at this detractors as he delivered praise for Barack Obama's acceptance speech during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, earning loud applause from the audience gathered at the channel's outdoor location.

Leading into the Matthews outburst, Keith Olbermann oozed: "For 42 minutes not a sour note and spellbinding throughout in way usually reserved for the creations of fiction. An extraordinary political statement....I'd love to find something to criticize about it. You got anything?"

Matthews: "No. You know I've been criticized for saying he inspires me and to hell with my critics!"

For the full rundown, and video: www.mediaresearch.org

FNC's Hemmer Stunned by Maher's 'Ready
to Have Sex' MSNBC Rebuke

Stunning Fox News Watch host Bill Hemmer, panelist Jim Pinkerton, picking up on a NewsBusters (the MRC's blog) post with video ("Maher: Matthews and Olbermann 'Were Ready to Have Sex with' Obama") [see #12 above], from just hours before the FNC show aired live at 6:30 PM EDT Saturday from St. Paul, pointed out that MSNBC's Democratic convention coverage was so adulatory that it led to: "Bill Maher, who's no conservative, who hates Bush, to joke that he thinks that Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews want to have sex with Obama. That's no slap at Obama, of course. He's innocent."

As the other panelists laughed, Hemmer was incredulous, interjecting "whoa, whoa" before pressing for corroboration: "Bill Maher said that?!" Pinkerton, Cal Thomas and Juan Williams all chimed in with confirmation and then Hemmer, putting his finger to his earpiece, informed viewers: "I'm hearing that we have a sound clip of that. Do we? Alright, roll it. Here's Bill Maher." Viewers were treated to the video of Maher from his Friday night HBO show: "I think there is a problem, though, with the media gushing over him too much. I don't think he thinks that he's all that, but the media does. I mean, the coverage after, that I was watching, from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Pinkerton set up the Maher anecdote by suggesting "MSNBC kind of jumped the shark on its coverage when they just went into total love mode where Keith Olbermann, for example, was specifically calling out an AP reporter and trashing him for not writing a sufficiently adulatory story about Obama and that led" to Maher.

See CyberAlert #12 above for the original post about Maher, with video.

Olbermann's slam of AP was one of three other quotes highlighted on Fox News Watch which you can read more about on NewsBusters. For Olbermann on the speech analysis by the AP's Charles Babington, see Noel Sheppard's "Olbermann Slams AP Writer Who Didn't Like Obama's Speech," at: newsbusters.org

Pinkerton also recited how CNN's John Roberts denounced Sarah Palin as too inexperienced and raised how her duties would leave her newborn son with Down's Syndrome without adequate care, only to be slapped down for sexism by CNN's Dana Bash. See Matthew Balan's "CNN's John Roberts: Palin Might Neglect Her Disabled Infant?" at: newsbusters.org

Or, jump back to #6 above.

And Cal Thomas, as an example of the media's infatuation with Obama, pointed to how ABC's George Stephanopoulos gave the Democrats a lot of A's. See my posting, "Nightline Awards Democrats 'Straight A's' for 'Perfect' Third Night," at: newsbusters.org
That was also in the August 28 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

Pinkerton and Jane Hall appeared from Washington, DC while the rest of the panelists were at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul for the upcoming Republican convention.

The exchange on the August 30 show, which matches the video (in the linked NewsBusters post and which will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert):

JIM PINKERTON: Wednesday and Thursday is when history will record...that MSNBC kind of jumped the shark on its coverage when they just went into total love mode where Keith Olbermann, for example, was specifically calling out an AP reporter and trashing him for not writing a sufficiently adulatory story about Obama and that led, of course, Bill Maher, who's no conservative, who hates Bush, to joke that he thinks that Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews want to have sex with Obama. That's no slap at Obama, of course. He's innocent.
[Laughter for panelists]
PINKERTON: No, he said it.
BILL HEMMER (guffawing) Whoa, whoa. Bill Maher said that?
PINKERTON: He did, he did.
CAL THOMAS: Oh, yeah.
JUAN WILLIAMS: He did.
[Crosstalk]
HEMMER: Hang on a second [puts finger to earpiece], I'm hearing that we have a sound clip of that. Do we? Alright, roll it. Here's Bill Maher.

BILL MAHER, ON HIS HBO SHOW FRIDAY NIGHT: I think there is a problem, though, with the media gushing over him too much. I don't think he thinks that he's all that, but the media does. I mean, the coverage after, that I was watching, from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him.

[Laughter from Hemmer and other panelists]
HEMMER: Hey Jane, I want to talk about the tension that was -- that's so funny by Bill Maher. There was a palpable tension between the Obama campaign and the Clinton campaign...

'Top Ten Surprises in Obama's Democratic
Convention Address'

14) From the August 28 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Surprises in Barack Obama's Democratic National Convention Address." Late Show home page: lateshow.cbs.com

10. Delivered speech in a bright orange pantsuit

9. Wants to change October to "Barack-tober"

8. Most of speech was devoted to his Labor Day barbecue cole slaw recipe

7. Outlined plan for America, then took calls about the Broncos defense

6. Kept saying to John Kerry, "Hey, why the long face?" -- it's funny every time!

5. Twelve-and-a-half minutes of, "Testing-one-two"

4. Performed hilarious ventriloquist act with Dennis Kucinich on his lap

3. Promised to make Pluto a state

2. Plans to bring peace to Lo and Audrina on "The Hills"

1. Also pronounces "nuclear," "nucular"

-- Brent Baker