Appearance Alert!
MRC's Brent Bozell on FNC's Hannity, 10:40pm ET/PT Wednesday

Williams Delivers Friendly, Empathetic Segment w/ Hillary Clinton --1/17/2008


1. Williams Delivers Friendly, Empathetic Segment w/ Hillary Clinton
Nine days after a glowing segment with Barack Obama, NBC's Brian Williams on Wednesday night again delivered a very friendly session with a Democratic presidential candidate, this time Hillary Clinton. Since the Iowa caucuses, Williams has not interviewed any of the Republican candidates for the NBC Nightly News, but last fall he did and displayed quite a contrast in approaches -- quizzing Republican Rudy Giuliani about controversies in his past while tossing softballs to Democrat John Edwards. In the Wednesday segment, Williams provided a congenial chat with Clinton, showing her on a rope line and then wondering: "How do you explain the energy of a rope line to a rookie?" Raising her "emotional" moment, Williams cued her up: "How did that question convert itself, in your mind, into a moment of grace?" Williams ended by empathizing with her tough grind: "The business of politics comes after the public events. Today it's a conference call with Democratic governors on the economy. Tonight it's on to Reno, tomorrow to California. And that's life on the road." NBC didn't even air the most unctuous question Williams posed. An MSNBC.com online transcript includes: "Akin to the question in New Hampshire, it has gotten personal quite early. How have you kept going?"

2. Olbermann Compares Hillary's Terrorism 'Fearmongering' to Rove's
During Tuesday night's post-debate coverage of the Democratic debate on MSNBC, Keith Olbermann repeatedly showed fascination with Hillary Clinton's contention that she is best experienced to deal with a potential terrorist attack if one occurs soon after the next President takes office, which the MSNBC host suggested was a "milder Democratic version of the same language that...has been used by so many Republicans since 9/11," contending that her comments put her "in the position of having to defend herself against charges of some kind of fearmongering a la Karl Rove."

3. Hillary Attack on Bush Strikes Chris Matthews as 'Thatcher-ite'
After playing a clip of Hillary Clinton slamming George W. Bush as "pathetic," during the Democratic debate in Nevada, Chris Matthews on Wednesday compared Clinton to former British Prime Minister and Cold War hero Margaret Thatcher as he exclaimed of the former First Lady's attack on the President: "It just struck me as very Thatcher-ite!"

4. CBS & ABC Mornings Shows Ignore Democratic Primary in Michigan
While Wednesday morning shows on FNC, CNN and even NBC covered the outcome of the Democratic primary in Michigan in which Barack Obama did not participate, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's Early Show made no mention of the Democratic primary and the strong anti-Hillary Clinton result. Clinton got 55 percent of the vote with 40 percent going to "uncommitted," while exit polls showed she lost the black vote 32 to 68 percent. FNC's Jeff Goldblatt noted that "some political observers say 'you know what? Hillary Rodham Clinton yes she did win the plurality, but she didn't even get 60 percent.' And in many parts of the state they got six to eight inches of snow and you still had 40 percent of those coming out yesterday voting for this guy 'uncommitted.'"

5. Late Show's 'Top Ten Programs on Oprah's New Television Network'
Letterman's "Top Ten Programs on Oprah's New Television Network."


Williams Delivers Friendly, Empathetic
Segment w/ Hillary Clinton

Nine days after a glowing segment with Barack Obama, NBC's Brian Williams on Wednesday night again delivered a very friendly session with a Democratic presidential candidate, this time Hillary Clinton. Since the Iowa caucuses, Williams has not interviewed any of the Republican candidates for the NBC Nightly News, but last fall he did and displayed quite a contrast in approaches -- quizzing Republican Rudy Giuliani about controversies in his past while tossing softballs to Democrat John Edwards.

In the Wednesday NBC Nightly News segment, Williams provided a congenial chat with Clinton, showing her on a rope line and then wondering: "How do you explain the energy of a rope line to a rookie?" Raising her "emotional" moment, Williams cued her up: "How did that question convert itself, in your mind, into a moment of grace?" As for her Granite state comeback, simply: "What do you think happened in New Hampshire?" Williams ended by empathizing with her tough grind: "For the Senator from New York, the business of politics comes after the public events. Today it's a conference call with Democratic governors on the economy. Tonight it's on to Reno, tomorrow to California. And that's life on the road." Standing in a holding room, he quipped: "At least the food on the road makes it all worthwhile."

NBC didn't even air the most unctuous question Williams posed. An MSNBC.com online transcript and video of the entire interview includes: "Akin to the question in New Hampshire, it has gotten personal quite early. How have you kept going?"

The posting also revealed how Williams pressed Clinton to denounce Senator Joe Lieberman: "A colleague of yours in the Senate, Joe Lieberman, is campaigning with Republican colleagues of yours, John McCain. Should Joe Lieberman still be a member of the Democratic Party? Should he be able to run a committee under the Democratic banner?"

The TV story lasted just under four minutes, but only about half was devoted to the actual interview, so only a small portion of the interview aired.

Transcript of the entire interview: www.msnbc.msn.com

The 28 minute video: www.msnbc.msn.com

Let's see if any future interview by Williams with a GOP candidate is as friendly.

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

The January 8 CyberAlert item, "Williams Slobbers Over Obama," recounted:

NBC's Brian Williams slobbered over Barack Obama Monday night. Riding on a bus in New Hampshire the day before the Granite state's primary, Williams showed Obama the Newsweek with the Democratic candidate on the cover and wondered: "How does this feel, of all the honors that have come your way, all the publicity? Who does it make you think of? Is there, is there a loved one?"

This week's Newsweek cover has a picture of Obama with an Obama quote: "Our time for change has come." The headline over the cover story by Richard Wolfe, a frequent guest of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann: "Inside Obama's Dream Machine." The subhead hailed Obama as "an icon of hope." Echoing that theme, Williams later observed how "in his stump speech, he now says 'we' instead of 'I.' The implication: What happened in Iowa was the start of a movement."

For the entire article: www.mrc.org

The November 28 CyberAlert posting, "NBC's Williams Avoids Controversy with Edwards, Not with Giuliani," reported:

Three weeks ago, when NBC anchor Brian Williams interviewed Rudy Giuliani, Williams raised Giuliani's closeness to Bernard Kerik and pressed him on Iraq as he pointed out how 2007 had become "the bloodiest year" in the war, but in an interview with John Edwards aired Tuesday night, Williams stuck to softballs and didn't bring up the indictment of a major Edwards donor or push Edwards about how the "surge" in Iraq he rejected is working. The two interviews are the most recent in the "Making of the President" series on the NBC Nightly News.

In the taped session with Republican presidential candidate Giuliani aired on November 6, Williams inquired: "Let's talk about your friend Bernard Kerik. Press reports are, as recently as today, that he could be a few days away from indictment, perhaps. When was the last time, first of all, that you spoke with him?" And on Giuliani supporting the war: "We just learned today '07 is the bloodiest year in Iraq. What would you do in Iraq starting today?"

But with Democratic candidate Edwards Tuesday night, Williams stuck to the horse race and sympathetic personal issues, wondering about the impact of Oprah Winfrey -- "a formidable celebrity" -- campaigning for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton's contention she will be the nominee, the status of his wife's health and Williams cued him up to elucidate his foreign policy expertise: "If you had to pick one, what one foreign country, currently, keeps John Edwards up at night?"

For the November 28 CyberAlert item in full: www.mrc.org

Now, the Wednesday segment with Senator Clinton. The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video of what aired on the January 16 NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: And now to the Democrats. On this day after their debate in this very place, we spent the day with Senator Hillary Clinton. If you agree with the assessment that the candidates fought pretty much to a draw last night, Senator Clinton sees each new day these days as a victory considering her surprise victory in New Hampshire. She wants the next victory to be right here on January 19th in the Democratic caucus. It's really the only way she gets to meet people, the contained, controlled chaos of the rope line. A post-event political staple with the Secret Service eyeing every incoming hand. Today, here in Nevada, we were waiting for the candidate at the end of the line.
WILLIAMS TO CLINTON: How do you explain the energy of a rope line to a rookie?
HILLARY CLINTON: That it is such intense personal involvement that people have come to see you, they want to touch you, they want to talk to you, they want you to sign something for them.
WILLIAMS: This is what her days are like, this particular panel discussion on nuclear waste.
CLINTON: There are so many problems-
WILLIAMS: Last night was different. The high wire act of our televised MSNBC debate. It turns out last night's Clinton-Obama truce on race applies only to race. When we met up with her this morning, the Senator tweaked Obama on his statement to a Reno newspaper saying voters don't want a bureaucrat, a sentiment he repeated at the debate last night.
BARACK OBAMA: Being President is not making sure that schedules are being run properly.
CLINTON: And I was taken aback when Senator Obama said yesterday that he didn't intend to try to manage or run the government, that he was going to have advisors to do that. That is very reminiscent of what we've had for the last seven years. I intend to run the government.
WILLIAMS TO CLINTON: You told John Meacham, the editor of Newsweek, that you thought the, the question that caused a brief emotional moment on your part was a moment of grace. And it was asked by a woman who later voted for Barack Obama. How did that question convert itself, in your mind, into a moment of grace?
HILLARY CLINTON: You know, Brian, I try to live in the moment in these campaigns. You know, if you were following me around with a little tiny mini-cam, you'd see a lot of moments like that, where somebody, you know, says, "I need your help." Or they throw their arms around me and say that "my son got an operation because of a program you did." Or, you know, "I just want you to know I'm with you."
WILLIAMS TO CLINTON: What was it you felt turning in New Hampshire? Enough with the analysis. Let's hear it from the candidate. What do you think happened in New Hampshire?
CLINTON: I think the election, in a very real way, started with the New Hampshire debate. You know, as a woman, I may have gone a little overboard in the beginning of this campaign to really make my case to be commander-in-chief. Because I know at the end of the day people look at who's running for President, and they have to ask themselves: "Is this somebody who will protect and defend us?" And I didn't spend as much time talking about why I'm motivated to do what I do, what I've done for 35 years.
WILLIAMS: For the Senator from New York, the business of politics comes after the public events. Today it's a conference call with Democratic governors on the economy. Tonight it's on to Reno, tomorrow to California. And that's life on the road.
WILLIAMS TO CLINTON, IN SPARSE ROOM: How would this holding room be different if your husband and entourage were here.
CLINTON: Well, there'd be more people.
WILLIAMS TO CLINTON: Yeah.
CLINTON: It's a gauntlet you have to run. It's harder than any political system in the world, and probably for a good reason because it's the hardest job in the world.
WILLIAMS TO CLINTON: At least the food on the road makes it all worthwhile.
CLINTON: Well, it's not the quality so much as the quantity that does keep you fueled up, Brian. That's the problem with, you know, being on campaigns. You know, you always, afterwards, you say, "Oh, why did I eat that pizza again?"

Olbermann Compares Hillary's Terrorism
'Fearmongering' to Rove's

During Tuesday night's post-debate coverage of the Democratic debate on MSNBC, Keith Olbermann repeatedly showed fascination with Hillary Clinton's contention that she is best experienced to deal with a potential terrorist attack if one occurs soon after the next President takes office, which the MSNBC host suggested was a "milder Democratic version of the same language that...has been used by so many Republicans since 9/11," contending that her comments put her "in the position of having to defend herself against charges of some kind of fearmongering a la Karl Rove."

The MSNBC host, who once charged that the Republican party is a "terrorist group" in one of his "Special Comment" rants (see the October 24, 2006 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org ), suggested that Clinton used a "finessed answer" that allowed her to sell herself as "better prepared" while "being able to deny that that was anything in the same league, let alone in the same ballpark as a Republican treatment of the Democrats will let you die and only the Republicans can save you in the event of terrorism." Olbermann further wondered why Barack Obama did not go after Clinton on the subject during the debate, "running right through that door that was opened for him."

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

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Tuesday, January 15 post-debate coverage from MSNBC:

# 11:15pm EST

DAVID GREGORY: I did think it was striking, though, if Hillary Clinton can be successful at one thing, Keith, she wants voters to be concentrating on this experience question with Barack Obama. He may be exciting, he may make you feel good, but is it all sound and fury? She brought up this issue of al-Qaeda testing Gordon Brown in Great Britain, driving that point home that you got to be ready on day one. Who's ready on day one? It's sort of, what do you want to leave people thinking about as this process moves forward? That's what she wants people to think about.
KEITH OLBERMANN: But even in that context, and some of us were highly critical of her, and that was the tone of Brian's question, I thought, which was: Does this not sound like exactly the kind of politics, in a milder form, that you have so eloquently criticized and so many other Democrats have criticized, done by the Bush administration and by Republicans for, well, really since 9/11 itself. Even her answer about that had been dialed back considerably. And the question becomes: Is this an issue of the three of them saying there are venues in which we can hit each other over the head with big rubber mallets and make as much of an impact as we can, or as much sound as we can, and there are ones that we can't? Or is it something more substantial? Is it listening to the idea that this was, they'd gone too far, that they were perhaps risking a schism in the Democratic party in what is to them a crucial election?

# 12:10am EST

OLBERMANN: But to that point, Howard, at the end of this debate, with about 10 minutes to go, Brian Williams gave Barack Obama, opened the door for him to go after, to go after Hillary Clinton on an issue that has been hugely important and hugely felt personally by most Democrats, and most people who have been critical of the administration, this whole question of reading her quote back to her before the vote in New Hampshire about the so-called Gordon Brown question. The implication, several lengths removed, but the implication nonetheless kind of milder Democratic version of the same language that was used by, has been used by so many Republicans since 9/11, and particularly in the campaigns of 2004 and 2006, why when this issue of, you know, this hint, maybe Obama would not be as ready as Clinton would be to handle a sudden terrorist attack after the inaugural next January, why was Senator Obama's response, I understand why his responses were controlled and statesmanlike on these, you know, personal issues, but why was he somewhat controlled? Why didn't he, you know, take, go run right through that door that was opened for him?
HOWARD FINEMAN: He was sort of tiptoeing halfway through the door. I think he said, boy, it's almost the end of the debate, I can really hit her one before it's over, and I think he wanted to do that, but yet he had in his mind, you know, Axelrod and all the other guys saying, you know, don't go after her too hard, be careful, you're at close range, you've had all those other problems. I think that's a big vulnerability that Clinton has. She can be accused of trying to play the fear card, and I think Obama was afraid to do it too frontally. It's hard to do it in those circumstances. I'm sure you're going to hear it on the campaign trail over the next few days.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, but Jonathan, why, if a candidate says, sitting next to you or a million miles away, Jonathan, if somebody says to you, you know, my implication here, that was in this statement that you would not be ready to deal with this, but I would, on such a vital issue, you have two options. One is to refute that, and refute it strongly. And the other one is just to say, "Listen, never mind what you're saying, this is not the way we should be doing business as Democrats." Why didn't Barack Obama take that opportunity when it was presented to him? [JONATHAN CAPEHART, Washington Post]

# 12:41am EST

OLBERMANN: The Democrats' debate tonight was largely politic, and not in the sense of the politeness of the possibilities between all the candidates, but there was one moment towards the end that might yet haunt Senator Clinton or possibly even Senaor Obama. Our own Brian Williams, towards the end of the debate, reminding viewers that she had commented on al-Qaeda attacks in Britain right after the new prime minister, Mr. Brown, had taken office, and then said, quote, "So let's not forget you're hiring a President not just to do what a candidate says he or she wants to do in an election, you're hiring a President to be there when the chips were down." Putting Senator Clinton in the position of having to defend herself against charges of some kind of fearmongering a la Karl Rove.
HILLARY CLINTON: What I said is what you quoted, and I'm not going to characterize it, but it is the fact, you know, the fact is that we face a very dangerous adversary, and to forget that or to brush it aside, I think, is a mistake.
BARACK OBAMA: When Senator Clinton uses the specter of a terrorist attack with a new prime minister during a campaign, I think that is part and parcel what we've seen the use of the fear of terrorism in scoring political points, and I think that's a mistake.
CLINTON: I think there's a difference between what President Bush has done, which has frankly used fear as a political weapon, and a recognition in a very calm and deliberative way that, yes, we have real enemies, and we'd better be prepared, and we'd better be ready to meet them on day one.
OLBERMANN: Chris Matthews continues to join us from Las Vegas and, for the moment now, we are joined again by MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and Air America Radio's Rachel Maddow. And, Rachel, I think you and I have discussed this on camera and off, that whole topic of what Senator Clinton had said before the vote in New Hampshire is the bull in the China shop for me and the red flag to the bull and every other kind of bull we could mention. Was that a finessed version of an already very finessed answer in which she was able to remind people that, yes, maybe I'm better prepared for this than anybody else while, at the same time, being able to deny that that was anything in the same league, let alone in the same ballpark as a Republican treatment of the Democrats will let you die and only the Republicans can save you in the event of terrorism?

Hillary Attack on Bush Strikes Chris
Matthews as 'Thatcher-ite'

After playing a clip of Hillary Clinton slamming George W. Bush as "pathetic," during the Democratic debate in Nevada, Chris Matthews on Wednesday compared Clinton to former British Prime Minister and Cold War hero Margaret Thatcher as he exclaimed of the former First Lady's attack on the President: "It just struck me as very Thatcher-ite!"

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday evening on the MRC's blog: NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The following exchange occurred between Matthews and fellow MSNBC host Tucker Carlson on the Wednesday, January 16 Hardball:

CLIP OF HILLARY CLINTON AT DEBATE: You know President Bush is over in the Gulf now begging the Saudis and others to drop the price of oil. How pathetic!
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know "pathetic," that's a tough word. That reminded me, Tucker, of remember Margaret Thatcher saying to Bush Sr. "Don't go wobbly?"
TUCKER CARLSON: "Don't go wobbly." That's exactly right.
MATTHEWS: Pathetic? It just struck me as very Thatcher-ite right there.

CBS & ABC Mornings Shows Ignore Democratic
Primary in Michigan

While Wednesday morning shows on FNC, CNN and even NBC covered the outcome of the Democratic primary in Michigan in which Barack Obama did not participate, ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's Early Show made no mention of the Democratic primary and the strong anti-Hillary Clinton result. Clinton got 55 percent of the vote with 40 percent going to "uncommitted," while exit polls showed she lost the black vote 32 to 68 percent. FNC's Jeff Goldblatt noted that "some political observers say 'you know what? Hillary Rodham Clinton yes she did win the plurality, but she didn't even get 60 percent.' And in many parts of the state they got six to eight inches of snow and you still had 40 percent of those coming out yesterday voting for this guy 'uncommitted.'"

[This item is adapted from a posting by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

On the Early Show, co-host Harry Smith and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer mentioned the Democrats once, early in the 7am hour, and then it was only about Tuesday's Nevada debate:

SMITH: Let's talk about the Democrats for a second because there was this truce called. I watched the debates on cable last night. And it was so peaceful and so calm and, you know, if you were looking to get a little rest, that might have helped you a little bit.
SCHIEFFER: This is something that's just gotten completely out of hand, and it's in the interest of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to get this thing over with, this argument about is he going to be the black candidate, is she the woman candidate. They need to be running on their qualifications. And I think both of them have now realized they've got to get past this, but they've got to get their supporters to get off this. They can't seem to give it up. This is not helping either one of them.

On Good Morning America, at the beginning of the 7am hour, host Diane Sawyer and This Week" host George Stephanopoulos also focused entirely on the Nevada debate:

SAWYER: Put on your track shoes there for the marathon there. I want to mention that the Democrats had a debate last night. But seemed like the boxing gloves were back in the box. Let's listen.
SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON: You know, we're all family in the Democratic Party.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: I think Hillary said it well.
JOHN EDWARDS: The things that Senator Clinton just spoke about are correct.
SAWYER: So, a lot of nice last night. What did you learn from the debate? Anything new?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, they decided to give each other the night off. I think that was the most important thing we learned. What we also learned is that all three candidates actually realized that this debate over race that they've been engaged in over the last week wasn't helping any one of them. And they really worked hard to get off that, despite a number of questions on that subject. They wanted to move on to other subjects. And, I think, finally, coming into Nevada on Saturday, big local issues in Nevada. The state of the Hispanic community there. What's going to happen with this Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depositary? What's going to happen with the economy are taking, are really leading the pack there. And I think the candidates all wanted the chance to talk about those issues and they did, but there was no real engagement.

Meanwhile, FNC's Fox & Friends covered the Democratic results in Michigan early in the 6am hour with a report by Jeff Goldblatt:

JEFF GOLDBLATT: As far as the Democratic side is concerned? Well, Hillary Rodham Clinton beat this other guy called "uncommitted," 55 percent to 40 percent. There were no other Democratic front runners on the ballot because of the decision on the part of the national party to strip the state of Michigan of all of its delegates for moving its primary forward into the month of January. Now, Hillary Rodham Clinton's supporters, they see this as a big win for them because they didn't campaign here and they still got 55 percent of the vote. But, looking in the numbers, some political observers say "you know what? Hillary Rodham Clinton yes she did win the plurality, but she didn't even get 60 percent." And in many parts of the state they got six to eight inches of snow and you still had 40 percent of those coming out yesterday voting for this guy "uncommitted." She didn't poll very well with the young voters and didn't do very well with Democratic men. Back to you.

On CNN's American Morning, co-host John Roberts and Time magazine's Mark Halperin not only analyzed the Democratic results in Michigan at the beginning of the 7:30am half hour, but also examined the fact that Hillary Clinton lost the black vote to "uncommitted":

ROBERTS: So they're trying to put the issue of race behind them. But the results of last night's polling in Michigan gave us a very important signal about how African-American voters are feeling.
HALPERIN: As you said before, Hillary Clinton was the only name on the ballot of the candidates still in the race. She won, but uncommitted drew a lot of votes, and a huge percentage, according to the exit poll, of African-American votes. That is a problem for her going forward in South Carolina, in particular, where at least half and maybe more of the vote will be African-American, and also in some of these big states coming up on Super Tuesday. The big African-American vote, she has to address that in South Carolina. It's kind of a dry run to see if she can win some of it back from Barack Obama.
ROBERTS: Our exit polling showed last night that 68 percent of African-American voters cast their vote for uncommitted. So, that's a very big sign for her, that there are some troubled waters ahead.
HALPERIN: Some of that was probably directed by the Obama campaign below the surface, but some of it was clearly organic. The Clinton family in politics has been able to rely on African-American votes. One of the real challenges she faces from Obama is obvious appeal to his fellow African-Americans.

Finally, on NBC's Today, co-host Meredith Vieira made a brief mention of Clinton winning the Michigan primary at the beginning of the 7am hour, but did not go into details: "Mitt Romney desperately needed a victory in the state where he grew up and he got it. Hillary Clinton won too but her race was uncontested since no delegates were at stake there."

Late Show's 'Top Ten Programs on Oprah's
New Television Network'

From the January 16 Late Show with David Letterman, prompted by the Tuesday announcement that in 2009 the Discovery Health channel will become the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), the "Top Ten Programs on Oprah's New Television Network." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. "Law and Oprah"

9. "The Oprentice"

8. "As Oprah's World Turns"

7. "Two and a Half Stedmans"

6. "Hawaii Five-Oprah"

5. "Gayle King of Queens"

4. No number four -- writer making his Bucket List

3. "Sofa Repair With Tom Cruise"

2. "Oprahstar Galactica"

1. "More Bullsh** From Dr. Phil"


Oprah's press release: www2.oprah.com

-- Brent Baker