Andrea Mitchell's floating of the Obama-camp accusation that John McCain cheated by overhearing Obama's responses at the Saddleback forum, as NewsBuster D.S. Hube reported, isn't the first time the NBC correspondent has made herself propagator-in-chief of Obama's conspiracy theories. As NewsBuster Noel Sheppard has noted, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis has now written NBC to protest Mitchell's behavior. Here's an excerpt from his letter to NBC News president Steve Capus [emphasis added]:
[I]nstead of taking a critical journalistic approach to this spin, Andrea Mitchell did what has become a pattern for her of simply repeating Obama campaign talking points.
In asserting a "pattern" of such behavior by Mitchell, what did Davis have in mind? Almost surely it included a very similar stunt that Mitchell pulled in connection with Obama's cancellation of his planned visit to injured troops while in Germany for his speech in Berlin. As I noted here at the time, Mitchell passed along the Obama camp's unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that McCain had pulled strings with Pentagon buddies to have them withdraw permission for the visit.
View video here.
Said Mitchell on Morning Joe on July 25th:
Clearly, people in the campaign are really angry . . . So, you know, the anger here in the campaign is pretty intense at the Pentagon. They feel that the military are drawing some lines--they're not saying this publicly of course--but drawing lines that they might have drawn for other people . . . They thought that they were, you know, you know, no-win situation, that the Pentagon, perhaps the military with cooperation from some Republican operatives and, that's the sort of scuttlebutt, that there have been some foreign policy advisers of John McCain with connections in the Pentagon who had something to do with this. But that is, perhaps, just the normal political paranoia of the season.
In fact, the Pentagon had done no such thing. As the Obama camp itself subsequently acknowledged, the invitation to visit the troops had remained on the table. Obama decided not to go, according to Obama aide Robert Gibbs "out of respect for these servicemen and women" because "it would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign.” Did Mitchell subsequently clarify the record, to let people know that the Obama camp's accusation was crackpot conspiracy theory if not an outright lie? Not that I'm aware of.
At the time, I wrote: "Are reporters in the business of reporting fact or rumor? Andrea Mitchell, for one, doesn't scruple to circulate "scuttlebutt" that if true would be deeply damaging to John McCain."
Along similar lines, Davis observed to Capus: "Instead of examining the Obama campaign's spin for truth before reporting it to more than 3 million NBC News viewers, Andrea Mitchell simply passed along Obama campaign conspiracy theories."
If Andrea Mitchell is going to serve as an Obama spokesman, perhaps she should take a leave of absence for the duration of the campaign. Otherwise, she'd be well-advised to begin investigating Obama's allegations rather than uncritically parroting them.