CNN's Kurtz Says McClellan Bashed Bush To Be Embraced by Media

On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, CNN host Howard Kurtz ended the Scott McClellan analysis segment of his show with his own two cents: "For McClellan to turn on Bush is clearly a ticket for him to be embraced by the media. I watched all the interviews and I've read all the interviews. He's not fully been able to answer these questions. Why didn't he speak up before even in private? Why didn't he resign if he was so troubled by the questions? And is he doing this for money?"

Former White House speechwriter David Frum, whose own Bush memoir was fairly supportive and hence was largely ignored by the media, let loose on McClellan: "One of the things that President Bush, one of the great failures as a manager is he put loyalty ahead of competence. And Scott McClellan is proof positive. He had no business being press secretary. He was awful at the job. It was painful to watch him. He got the job because he was somebody's deputy. And one of the way the Bush administration works is they promote the deputy then the deputy of the deputy of the deputy and then the deputy of the deputy."

Kurtz turned to Joe Lockhart, who was press secretary late in the Clinton administration: "Is it understandable that Dana Perino and Karl Rove and Ari Fleischer would rip this guy who they thought was a friend? Clinton loyalists didn't like the book that George Stephanopoulos wrote in the middle of Clinton's administration."

Lockhart claimed: "I mean it's become part of the White House warfare playbook. Which is when you don't like the facts are out there, assassinate the character." He claimed McClellan was unquestionably correct in his Bush-bashing and even suggested no one is disagreeing with the book’s claims: "There is nobody saying he's wrong on this point or he is wrong on that point which means he's right."

This isn't true at all. The White House strenuously objected to McClellan claiming the White House was conducting a campaign of propaganda and lies in the leadup to war. Conservatives have aggressively objected to the idea that the press was somehow a Bush-adoring chorus before the war.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis