A few weeks ago, NBC's David Gregory was outraged at the possibility that President Obama knew The Huffington Post's Nico Pitney would ask a question about Iran during a presidential press conference. During the June 28 broadcast of Meet the Press, Gregory repeatedly questioned Obama advisor David Axelrod about the matter:
MR. GREGORY: I just want to be clear. Did the White House coordinate with a reporter about a question to be asked at a press conference?
MR. GREGORY: So you talked to a reporter beforehand and said, "Could you ask a question about--from--directly from Iran at a press conference?"
MR. GREGORY: Well, why is it appropriate to coordinate with a reporter about what's asked at a time when we're championing democracy around the world?
MR. GREGORY: Is that, is that what you should do at a press conference?
MR. GREGORY: But you coordinated with him about, about that subject of a question beforehand.
MR. GREGORY: If President Bush had done that, don't you think Democrats would have said that's outrageous?
MR. GREGORY: Right. So you would, so you'd do it again?
As I noted at the time, Gregory's obsession was more than a little silly, given that television shows like his regularly negotiate topics with guests in advance. But I underestimated Gregory's hypocrisy.
Here's an email Gregory sent to an aide to South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, in an effort to book Sanford on Meet the Press:
Hey Joel ...
Left you a message. Wanted you to hear directly from me that I want to have the Gov on Sunday on Meet The Press. I think it's exactly the right forum to answer the questions about his trip as well as giving him a platform to discuss the economy/stimulus and the future of the party. You know he will get a fair shake from me and coming on MTP puts all of this to rest.
Let's talk when you can.
That was on June 24 -- just four days before Gregory grilled Axelrod about coordinating the subject of questions with reporters.
Gregory later followed up with another email:
[C]oming on Meet The Press allows you to frame the conversation how you really want to...and then move on. You can see (sic) you have done your interview and then move on. Consider it.
So, Gregory was not only coordinating with Sanford's staff about what topics Gregory would ask Sanford about, should the South Carolina Governor agree to appear on Meet the Press -- he was telling the aide he would allow Sanford to "frame the conversation how you really want to."
And then, just a few days later, Gregory took to the air to denounce the White House and Nico Pitney for coordinating about the subject of a question. Incredible.
From the July 18 Associated Press article by Charles Babington:
On the other side, a coalition of health insurance groups is readying TV ads opposing a public option for insurance. Other groups are airing ads suggesting that Obama would push the United States into a Canada-like system that would require long waits for important medical treatments.
The right-wing blogosphere continues to rally around its previously invisible concern for racial equality in American politics. And boy, it's stunning to watch unfold, especially in the wake of the Judge Sonia Sotomayor hearings, when the same right-wing blogosphere openly, and eagerly, trafficked in some of the worst kind of racial stereotyping.
But because a conservative African-American pro-business flak, Harry Alford, is running around calling Sen. Barbara Boxer an "obnoxious," "caustic" "racist," suddenly the GOP Noise Machine is deeply interested. Suddenly these people cannot sleep at night knowing racial animus exists. (They cheer when the "racist" tag is loosely thrown around.) Even right-wing talker, and professional Palin pal, John Ziegler is upset!
Behold the epic hypocrisy.
UPDATED: On Ziegler's radio show, Alford completely re-invented his hearing appearance before Boxer, claiming she suggested he was a "dumb little Negro," and an "ignorant little jigaboo."
She said no such thing. (Surprise!)
Yet it was Alford who first claimed Boxer was the one being "racial."
Actually, Politico allowed guest opinion writers take a factually inaccurate cheap shot at TPM. But Politico still takes the blame. It has control over its editorial content and should not allow outside opinion writers to simply fabricate claims.
That's what conservative Gary Bauer and his co-writer Daniel Allott did in their pro-Palin piece for Politico:
Why Trig has divided America
The premise was rather dubious, to say the least. Palin's newborn Down syndrome son had really "divided" America? There was a large faction that somehow opposed him? That's simply absurd. But Bauer and Allott did their best to prop up the notion. And they even had proof that (liberals) had written nasty things about young Trig:
At Talking Points Memo, an article sarcastically suggested that Palin resigned because "she wants to spread Down syndrome ... because Down syndrome is just too cute to be reserved for one in 800 births."
Wow, an "article" in the highly respected Talking Points Memo trashed Palin and her son in such a derogatory manner? According to Bauer and Allott, that was the case. And the right-wing Free Republic had also recently made that point:
The liberal Talking Points Memo website, which is deemed a respectable political site by the mainstream media which regularly quotes from their articles, published an article last night that speculated Alaska Governor Sarah Palin resigned because "she wants to spread Down syndrome." Palin's infant son Trig was born last year with Down syndrome.
What the heck is going on over at TPM?? Do editors there have no decency?!
Well, if I have to explain how the blogosphere works to Free Republic and Bauer/Allott (and Politico), I will. Sites like TPM have what are called diaries where readers can create their own content and post it online. It is sort of the cyber-equivalent to callers on AM talk radio shows. Meaning, they say whatever they want but nobody thinks the radio talk show host has any control over caller content, and nobody thinks the host is responsible for what comes out of callers' mouth.
In this Palin case, the ill-advised "800 births" comment was posted within a TPM reader diary. It was not an "article." It was not prepared by a TPM staffer, it was not edited and it was not okayed by the site. It was a reader comment. Period.
So why did Politico let conservatives take that kind of cheap shot at a hallmark netroots site?
We noted that yesterday Politico posted a stand-alone news story about the fact that Sarah Palin had posted some tweets about grizzly bears.....That's it. That was the news.
So we'd be remiss if we didn't also note the Politico effort this week to document the ways Obama was losing his "cool." Wafer-thin barely begins to describe the piece, as well as the 'proof' used to back up the pointless enterprise.
The first item:
It started on Monday. Speaking at the White House, Obama was just getting into a sharp defense of his economic agenda when one of the teleprompter screens holding his speech crashed to the floor and shattered into pieces.
Got that? Obama was at some official function and using a teleprompter and then the teleprompter, untouched by Obama, fell over and broke. That's the Politico's first, best evidence that Obama was losing his "cool factor."
And in one more embarrassing incident this week, Obama, a stickler for pronunciation, stumbled over the name of his surgeon general-designate's hometown – and had to ask Dr. Regina Benjamin for help pronouncing "Bayou La Batre."
Oh my. At another one of Obama's endless public functions, he mispronounced the name of a very unusual and foreign sounding town. That was his "embarrassing" incident.
Trust me, after reading this piece it's not Obama who comes off as embarrassing.