Another David Shuster Prediction Falls Flat

After his May 8 prediction that White House aide Karle Rove "will, in fact, be indicted" blew up in his face as investigators into the Valerie Plame non-scandal told Rove he would not be charged, you'd think MSNBC correspondent David Shuster would have stayed away from making prognostications based on his own reporting.

If you predicted that, however, you would've been wrong.

Last Wednesday, Shuster confidently asserted that his sources told him that GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert would be ousted from power by a week. Well, it's Thursday now and Hastert is still very much in the Speaker's Chair. Will Shuster trouble himself to issue a retraction? Perhaps the perpetually inaccurate Keith Olbermann might bestir himself to force one since he now seems slightly more interested in accuracy, especially since Shuster's remark was made on his show.

In any case, Shuster should definitely consider developing some better sources since they've steered him wrong rather profoundly on two instances in less than six months' time.

Full text of Shuster's comment is below the fold. Tip of the hat to Olbermann Watch for reminding me of when Shuster made his false prediction.

OLBERMANN: Late today, a fellow Republican congressman, Mr. Lewis of Kentucky, canceled this fundraising event he has with the speaker, Hastert, next week. The third lead Republican in the House, Mr. Blunt, said he would have handled this differently than Mr. Hastert has. When does this start to qualify as death by a thousand cuts for the speaker?

SHUSTER: It's already started, Keith. And, in fact, tonight, we've been told by every lawmaker, every Republican lawmaker we've called has said that Dennis Hastert will not be the speaker of the House this time next week. Furthermore, some Republicans say that a group of top Republicans in the House have already started talking amongst themselves about which one of them is going to make the call to Denny Hastert or personally fly and see him and make the case that the Republicans simply cannot survive this week with him as speaker, and that he has to step down.

That's how serious it is for the Republicans. They say they are dead unless Speaker Hastert resigns in the next week.

Again, Keith, they say the problem is not that Denny Hastert was the speaker of the House at a time when Congressman Foley was having these lewd exchanges with the congressional pages and the former pages, the problem, they say, has been the way that Speaker Hastert and the top leadership handled it this week.

Although Shuster may say at this point that he did not personally state that Hastert would be out, as you can see, Olbermann certainly got the impression that that was the case:

OLBERMANN: But David, if Hastert goes down, wouldn't it also implicate the other Republican lawmakers, like Congressman Reynolds and the majority leader, Mr. Boehner? Are -- is there not something of a domino conceivably in effect here?

SHUSTER: Absolutely. And Republicans we speak with tonight, Keith, say that there's simply no protection for these congressmen. For Boehner, for example, they say that his problem was that he was the first one to essentially shoot at Denny Hastert Friday night, saying, Well, I had spoken to Hastert. Then Boehner said, No, I hadn't. Then again on the radio station in Ohio, Boehner said, Well, yes, I did speak to Hastert. Boehner's story has shifted all over the place.

Reynolds' problem, as you mentioned, is that Reynolds took money from Foley. Furthermore, Reynolds is in a heck of a fight for his reelection seat in New York. And that in and of itself might cause the major problem for him.

OLBERMANN: It now appears, we're hearing, that male pages were first warned to steer clear of Congressman Foley, at least according to those that "The Washington Post" spoke to, in 1995. That's 11 classes of pages ago. Is there the potential here for this story to keep getting worse, no matter who resigns, as long as there are more former pages who have not come forward?

SHUSTER: Absolutely. And the great fear, Keith, is, when you look at the news conference that Foley's lawyer had last night, he went to great pains to say Congressman Foley did not have sex with any minors. The problem with that is that the age of a minor in Florida is 18, in Washington it's 16. So you still have the ugly prospect that somebody might emerge who was a page, who had some sort of relationship with Congressman Foley.This thing could get even uglier, as long as attention is still focused on Foley, and that's another reason why Republicans say they need a clean break from everybody who's associated with this.

OLBERMANN: And briefly, David, any guidance yet in Washington about whether or not there might have been crimes committed here outside of that definitional question that you just raised about the age of consent?

SHUSTER: Well, law enforcement officials say that based on what we know now, just based on the e-mails and the computer messages and the text messages, that is not enough, they say, to actually charge Foley, because the point being that it is not illegal to merely have sexual banter with a minor, that it's got to be something greater than that. But that's why they would look at the text messages and see, for example, if Foley tried to arrange any liaisons or any meetings with these youngsters at the time that he was sending his text messages.

OLBERMANN: MSNBC's David Shuster, who, as you've heard there, his sources suggesting to him throughout Capitol Hill that Dennis Hastert will not be speaker of the House of Representatives this time next week.

David, great thanks for your reporting tonight.

SHUSTER: Thanks, Keith.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013