David Shuster's tasteless game of "gotcha," that we reported here and here, in which the MSNBC "correspondent" exploited the name of a fallen American soldier to put Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on the spot, is getting considerable media attention. Brit Hume featured it in last night's "Grapevine" segment of "Special Report."
View video here.
This is journalist crapola. Anyone can find a fact - important or not - which the subject of an interview is not likely to know and then beat him or her over the head with it.
Do you think al-Anbar province is important to the stabilization of Iraq? You do? Name the current provincial leader. Can't do it? HYPOCRITE!
You voted against raising the minimum wage. What's the average hourly wage in your district? Don't know? IGNORAMOUS!
See what I mean?
. . .
I will not impugn Shuster's motives because I don't know what they were - although I am willing to speculate that the words "Guest host for Keith Olbermann" enter into it.
What I will do, though, is suggest most strongly that Shuster is guilty of practicing faux journalism at its worst. This isn't "gotchya" journalism. This is on the level of a grossly unprofessional and ugly Three-Stooges-Whoop-Whoop-Nyuk-Nyuk fraternity prank.
. . .
As it happens, Shuster was wrong. The Newsbusters.[org] website found out that the soldier Shuster named had not lived in Blackburn's district after all.
Here's what NBC should do: Suspend Shuster until he agrees to take his parents (if they are still alive) with him to the home of the soldier's parents and apologize to them, not for some staffer having mis-read a ZIP code map, but for having abused their son's memory to perpetrate a despicable on-air stunt.
What if someone on the Fox News Channel had done this to a Democrat who had been defending the MoveOn.org ad? The Popular Press would demand the offending "journalist" be removed from his or her job. And rightly so.