MSNBC's Shuster: "[C]able-news organization that rhymes with 'clocks' " distorted Bill Clinton's exchange with reporter

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE

On Morning Joe, David Shuster responded to Craig Crawford's assertion that the media "tend to gang up on the Clintons" and are "actually a little unfair to them," asserting: "Well, I think some people are certainly unfair. There was another cable-news organization that rhymes with 'clocks' that said that Bill Clinton had completely lost his cool and blown up at a reporter there from Oakland, when, in fact, when you see the clip of Bill Clinton reacting to that reporter, he's just being very firm."

During the January 19 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, after MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford asserted that the media "tend to gang up on the Clintons" and are "actually a little unfair to them," MSNBC correspondent David Shuster responded: "Well, I think some people are certainly unfair. There was another cable-news organization that rhymes with 'clocks' that said that Bill Clinton had completely lost his cool and blown up at a reporter there from Oakland, when, in fact, when you see the clip of Bill Clinton reacting to that reporter, he's just being very firm." Shuster concluded: "But, you know, that's their standards, and we have ours."

On the January 17 edition of Fox News' Special Report, correspondent Major Garrett reported on a lawsuit filed by the Nevada Teachers Union to prevent at-large precincts from caucusing at Las Vegas casino sites. During the report, Garrett described an exchange in California between former President Bill Clinton and a reporter from Oakland as follows: "The Clinton camp's neutrality in the suit was brought into question when former President Bill Clinton lit into a reporter who asked why a caucus plan approved by the Democratic National Committee was unfair." In addition, on the January 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity highlighted "apparently breaking news -- [an] alert from the campaign trail" about "Bill Clinton losing his temper." Later, after showing a video clip of the exchange, co-host Alan Colmes said: "I just think he forcefully answered a question."

From the January 19 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

SHUSTER: And yet, Craig Crawford, it's probably not a bad general-election strategy for [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-IL], who's hoping to try and get independents and Republicans to join him, to talk about Ronald Reagan, to a certain extent. And yet this is a Democratic primary right now.

CRAWFORD: I know. On the political level, I think those are grand things for him to be saying, as you say, and probably good stuff for a general election. But when you're trying to get those hard-core partisans out to a caucus, which is a very difficult thing to do, and only the most, you know, faithful party partisans generally show up, even though others can show up, it's kind of a weird message to be, you know, just politically speaking, to be putting out.

I'm glad you clarified that. I was going a little nuts earlier this morning when Joe was reacting there to Clinton, because Clinton was not reacting to the tape that you were showing earlier. And it was the comment where -- that you just now showed -- that Clinton was reacting to. And I think there's a tendency here -- I know what's going on. It's all about an old journalistic rule, which is we afflict the comfortable. And so I think that's why many times, many of us in the media tend to gang up on the Clintons. Because they're very comfortable, they're very powerful, and I think sometimes we're actually a little unfair to them, but maybe that's just how it goes.

SHUSTER: Well, I think some people are certainly unfair. There was another cable-news organization that rhymes with "clocks" that said that Bill Clinton had completely lost his cool and blown up at a reporter there from Oakland, when, in fact, when you see the clip of Bill Clinton reacting to that reporter, he's just being very firm. But, you know, that's their standards, and we have ours.

From the January 17 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

GARRETT: In the Nevada proxy war between Barack Obama and [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY] over nine caucus sites set aside for casino workers on the Las Vegas trip, a federal judge said today, "Let the casino caucuses roll." The head of the Culinary Workers that fought for the casino caucus sites cheered the victory.

D. TAYLOR (Culinary Workers Union): We think now we can concentrate on the guts of the campaigns as compared to whether people should be disenfranchised or not.

GARRETT: The Culinary Union, which represents more than 60,000 casino employees, has endorsed Obama here and has deployed more than 100 field organizers to move its membership to back Obama in Saturday's caucuses.

But the head of the Nevada Teachers Union that filed the suit to abolish casino caucusing called the ruling a disappointment for union custodians who will be required to open caucus sites at schools, an obligation that would force them away from their home precinct and thus prevent them from participating.

LYNNE WARNE (Nevada State Education Association): The support-staff professionals, you know, that are going to be disenfranchised from this, our custodians, many of those folks are, you know, of minority status and are of the same demographic that are being addressed in these at-large caucuses on the strip. Again, you know, why accommodate one group and not accommodate more?

GARRETT: Clinton's campaign said it had nothing to do with the lawsuit, but many Clinton allies backed litigation filed two days after the Culinary Union backed Obama. Campaigning in San Francisco, Obama had this to say.

OBAMA: The judge was clear that you can't change the rules six days before a caucus and that any alteration would have disenfranchised maids, dishwashers, bellhops who work on the Strip.

GARRETT: The Clinton camp's neutrality in the suit was brought into question when former President Bill Clinton lit into a reporter who asked why a caucus plan approved by the Democratic National Committee was unfair.

BILL CLINTON: So when you ask me that question, your position is that you think the Culinary Workers' votes should count -- a) they should be -- it should be easier for them to vote than for anybody else in Nevada that has to work on Saturday. That's your first position. Second, when they do vote, their vote should count five times as much as everybody else.

GARRETT: The chairman of the Nevada Democratic Party said the judge's ruling vindicated the state party's decision on how to weight the casino caucus sites relative to other precincts.

JILL DERBY (Nevada Democratic Party chairwoman): [unintelligible] there's a large turnout on the Strip and these at-large precincts, it becomes pretty equitable. I mean, we're convinced it's a fair formula.

GARRETT: Derby lamented a court battle that pitted Obama and Clinton against one another and divided two of the state's most powerful unions.

DERBY: I don't think so. It's been a bit of a distraction, but we're ready to move on now.

From the January 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: And coming up next, apparently breaking news -- alert from the campaign trail. Just moments ago, Bill Clinton losing his temper. We just got the tape in. We'll play that for you next.

[...]

COLMES: This is a Hannity & Colmes election alert. We have just gotten this brand-new tape into the Fox News Channel, and you are about to see it for the first time.

Former President Clinton was campaigning in California today and had what some people are describing as a testy exchange with a reporter at the station KGO. They were talking about some lawsuits surrounding this Saturday's Democratic caucuses in Nevada. Let's take a look.

BILL CLINTON [video clip]: You get on your television station and say, "I don't care about the home-mortgage crisis. All I care about is making sure that some voters have it easier than others and that when they do vote when it's already easier for them, their vote should count five times as much as others." That is your position. If you want to take that position, get on the television and take it. Don't be accusatory with me. I had nothing to do with this lawsuit. Some people in Nevada are old-fashioned. They think the rules should be the same for everybody and the votes -- everybody's vote should count the same. I had nothing to do with that lawsuit, and you know it.

COLMES: Now, was that really a Chris Wallace moment, [Democratic strategist] Steve McMahon? I mean, I just think he forcefully answered a question.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, MSNBC
Person
David Shuster
Show/Publication
Morning Joe
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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