NewsBusters executive editor Tim Graham appeared on The Kelly File on Wednesday night to discuss the media's intense defense of Hillary Clinton after Karl Rove raised some questions about her fall and concussion at the end of 2013.
Fox News producers lined up a series of network stars calling Rove "reprehensible" and running a "smear machine." Graham accused the media of attacking anyone who tries to raise questions they don't care to get answered about the Clintons. (Video, some transcript below)
MARTHA McCALLUM, substitute host: The response from the mainstream media? Watch:
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC: Smear campaign: Are we witnessing a new GOP line of attack against Hillary Clinton and did Karl Rove take things too far?
JOHN KING, CNN: Let's start, Robert and Margaret, with shocking, and I’ll say I think reprehensible comments from Karl Rove....but to say she has, essentially, saying I think she has brain damage or a traumatic brain injury? Beyond the pale?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN: They are knocking Karl Rove very hard on this, I would say from a spokesperson for Hillary Clinton. He says Karl Rove has deceived the country for years but there are no words for this level of lying.
MATT LAUER, NBC: In an attempt to be provocative, I think, he stepped a little bit into it, as they say.
MARTHA McCALLUM: So what exactly is happening here? Tim Graham is the executive editor of the NewsBusters website, a media watchdog. Tim, good evening to you. So what do you make of the rush to defense so many of the programs we just looked at?
TIM GRAHAM: This is the classic routine we always see of the Clintons because what you have here is a news media that loves her so much, that they didn't ask her any of these questions about her health when it mattered, which is when she came back into the public eye in January. She did an interview with Cynthia McFadden on ABC and they touched on it a little bit. Steve Kroft on CBS: ‘How’s your health?’ There is no serious questions being asked. This is not what they do. They celebrate her, so then when somebody raises the question and say, you know, she was out of office there for a month, what was that all about? And then the media leaps on them like how dare you ask the questions that we utterly failed to ask because we don't care.
You know, the fact of the matter is this is the way they cover Hillary Clinton. They talk about her mother. They talk about her coming grandchild. They talk about somebody throwing a slipper at her in Vegas. She's treated like a celebrity. She's like Beyonce of politics and that's what happens. So I think the real problem here is the news media, you know, for them to come out and say this is some sort of smear machine, this is the news media. They never hold the Clintons accountable for anything.
Fox also demonstrated that raising questions about Hillary's age wouldn't be unprecedented. They showed a Time magazine cover asking if Bob Dole was too old to be president, and an Obama ad mocking John McCain for being incapable of using a computer or sending an e-mail.
Graham said the media didn't leap on Obama for that ad, with Katie Couric lightly touching on it in a Joe Biden interview, in sharp contrast with her pounding of Sarah Palin. He also accused Brian Williams of basically accusing George W. Bush of racism in a street interview after Hurricane Katrina.