Meet the Press paired imbalanced panel with imbalanced video recapping 2004 election
Research ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER
The four-member media panel on the January 2 edition of NBC's Meet the Press featured two staunch conservatives -- New York Times columnist William Safire and National Review Washington editor Kate O'Beirne -- as well as a 2004 election video recap, described by moderator Tim Russert as "a little video summary of the campaign," that included numerous video clips of statements and actions of Senator John Kerry that were attacked, distorted, and ridiculed by Republicans and conservative media figures.
Included in the video were Kerry's remark that he voted for and against the $87 billion supplemental defense appropriations bill and his reference to Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter as a lesbian -- both of which were used in attacks and distortions during the campaign, as Media Matters for America documented. The video also included a clip of Kerry hunting in Ohio, which also spawned conservative attacks (see here and here). Scurrilous attacks against Kerry by Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) and the discredited Swift Vets and POWs for Truth (formerly Swift Boat Veterans for Truth) were also featured in the video, as well as former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani's suggestion that Osama bin Laden might prefer Kerry over President George Bush.
Aside from including Senator Hillary Clinton's remarks denouncing the Swift Vets' methods as "smear tactics" coordinated with the Bush-Cheney campaign, the only clip portraying Bush or his supporters in a negative light in the Meet the Press video related to Bush's reiteration in the first presidential debate that he knew that bin Laden, and not Saddam Hussein, was behind the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The video did include clips of both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates criticizing their opponents.
In addition to Safire and O'Beirne, the Meet the Press panel included Washington Post political correspondent David Broder and Newsweek assistant managing editor Evan Thomas. As Media Matters has documented (see here and here), Meet the Press has frequently featured media panels in which conservative guests outnumbered progressives or conservative pundits were pitted against journalists who are not politically aligned.