Mainstream media personalities are very much like politicians, as they can spout their views to a large audience and have an effect on public policy. However, unlike pols, media personalities are rarely called out on their own "flip-flops".
This video clip shows examples of MSNBC's Chris Matthews changing his views on the importance of foreign policy experience. In 1991 Matthews, like many others in the media, were already eating their own words after witnessing the George H.W. Bush administration orchestrate the successful Gulf War.
Conceding the Bush administration was strong on foreign policy, the media began their own campaign emphasizing that foreign policy experience was not enough to be president of the United States. In order to prop up a virtually unknown young governor from Arkansas, media personalities like Chris Matthews said the following on CNN's Crossfire in 1991 (my emphasis throughout):
MATTHEWS: Pat you're dead right. The country is being run very effectively in terms of foreign policy by the Brady Bunch...Baker, Brady, Bush. They're great on foreign policy, but it used to be that politics ends at the water level... at the water's edge. Now it begins there. You're saying we should elect a president purely on foreign policy. The problem is the same crowd that so good at foreign policy...this Tory crowd you just listed, Baker, and Brady, and Bush also have an economic agenda which is to help the very elite.
Matthews sang a different tune in 2007 about the experience of the democrats he was cheering on in 1991. In this case, he sold the Clintons out to a young inexperienced democrat senator from Illinois, but even when he attacked Clinton over experience and policy, he used George W. Bush as a punching bag :
MATTHEWS: If I were Obama, I would say the following: So you and Hillary were so experienced that you thought it a good idea to authorize President Bush take the American Army into Arabia where it is now stuck. You were experienced enough to think that invading a third world Islamic country would not create a problem from which we would find it brutal to escape. Its experience like that which I ,Barack Obama, promise not to repeat. That's what I would say if I was Barack Obama.
On the September 29 Hardball program, Matthews, along with Salon's Joan Walsh, tore apart Governor Sarah Palin's lack of foreign policy experience and wondered if Palin was simply an empty vessel being filled by Bush "ideologues."
MATTHEWS: Are you concerned at all that she's being more or less home-schooled by some of the ideologues around the President...people like Randy Scheunemann teaching her things in this sort of vacuum, and most of us learn things where there's argument, there's different points of view. We sort of come up with our own thing.
WALSH: There's context.
MATTHEWS:There's context. Are you afraid at all that she's being drilled for an exam?
Matthews also seemed to go out of his way to slam home-schooled individuals while attacking Palin.
The MSNBC host may be inconsistent with how he feels about the value of foreign policy experience, but the target of his attacks will consistently be Republican individuals.
-Kerry Picket is an associate producer at the Media Research Center's Eyeblast.tv