Toggling between the Today show and Good Morning America this morning offered a perfect illustration of the very different treatment the MSM reserves for Republicans and Democrats.
At Today, Andrea Mitchell was painting a grim picture of President Bush's foreign policy record. Take the recent Hamas victory, for example, which Mitchell unequivocally labelled: "a disaster for the US peace plan."
In fact, reactions to the Hamas victory have been very mixed, with some seeing a significant silver lining, as in this column by conservative [and I might add Jewish] columnist Jeff Jacoby:
"The sweeping Hamas victory is by far the best result that could have been hoped for. [T]he Hamas landslide is good news. Ironically, the ascendancy of Hamas may have brought [a positive] outcome a little closer."
But Mitchell saw no sign of hope.
Mitchell sustained the assault with a clip of former Sen. Sam Nunn, who declared:
"When you basically have all sorts of challenges in the world and you specifically identify enemies in the State of the Union speech instead of lining up your allies with you, you begin to split alliances with that sort of rhetoric."
Over at GMA, the contrast could not have been starker when it came to Charlie Gibson's interview of Ted Kennedy. Readers of this column will recall that just yesterday, Gibson was pouring contempt on the president, suggesting that his best tactic for the State of the Union might be to "go belly up and admit that things are really bad."
Compare and contrast with the softballs Gibson served up on a T so sturdy that even a shaky Ted Kennedy could knock them out of the park:
Gibson lead with this open-ended piece of fluff: "in your mind,what is the most important subject the president can address tonight and the most important thing you think he'll say?"
Gibson set up his next question by suggesting the White House was bargaining from a position of weakness:
"Listening to Dan Bartlet a moment ago saying they were going to set aside politics as normal and elevate the level of debate, you might read that as saying 'I know our poll numbers are low and therefore we're going to have to reach out to the other party.' Do you get a sense that this White House is willing to compromise on anything?"
It can't get much softer than to echo a guest's own talking points, but that's exactly what Gibson did in his final question:
"On [health care], do Republicans and Democrats really have room to work together? It is widely rumored the president will talk about helping savings accounts, yet you've said that doesn't help the average worker, it just helps if you have money to set aside. Do you think you'll get something that the two of you can work together in that area?"
Tough stuff, Charlie!