Are we seeing some fractures in the liberal media? Talking about Senator Obama’s surge to the lead in New Hampshire polls on Monday’s ‘Morning Joe’ on MSNBC, Hardball host Chris Matthews asserted that the “establishment press” would be part of Hillary Clinton’s resurgence. “There’s an establishment press — which is just as establishment as the establishment of the Democratic party — who can’t wait to write that fawning piece, ‘Here come the Clintons again.’”
Upon hearing that, ex-CBS anchor Dan Rather suggested that the media is really anti-Hillary right now: “I think they’re waiting to write the obituary....They’re just waiting to write ‘finis’ to the Clintons.”
Maybe this is a case of each journalist thinking the rest of the press is biased against their favorite. Over the years, Rather has provided some rather indulgent coverage to both of the Clintons, including a fawning profile of Hillary on the May 26, 1999 60 Minutes II (produced by Mary Mapes) in which Rather gooed, “Once a political lightning rod, today she is political lightning.”
On the other side of the coin, last October Matthews used his show to offer suggested anti-Hillary talking points to Obama, and he seemed thrilled by the Illinois Senator at a June 2007 Democratic candidates’ forum he was moderating: “So much of what you say just grabs people like me, because it sounds like Bobby Kennedy. It sounds like the ’ 60s at it’s absolute best.”
Here’s the exchange on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, which took place at about 8:37ET and began with Matthews describing the hurdles still facing an insurgent candidate like Obama:
MATTHEWS: “Often the idealistic, the — perhaps you could say the man of the left, if you will, but it’s not that simple. It’s the person who’s sort of more dramatic, more heroic. They do very well in the early stretch, and then the old interest group politician — the Humphreys, the Mondales, the Clintons, the Dukakises, the Gores — come in, they rally all the troops, the people that go to meetings for 30 years, and they grab back the power from the, uh, the morning glory. And maybe this guy is not a morning glory, but I do have that sense in me.
And there’s also the press out there. There’s an establishment press — which is just as establishment as the establishment of the Democratic party — who can’t wait to write that fawning piece, ‘Here come the Clintons again’–
JOE SCARBOROUGH, interrupting: Well, I don’t know
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I’m not feeling that
DAN RATHER: I disagree. I think they’re waiting to write the obituary.
SCARBOROUGH: I think you’re right
RATHER: I think they already have the obituary written for her, I do think. You know, I never rule out the possibility you are right, but I think in this case they’re just waiting to write ‘finis’ to the Clintons.