One of the few saving graces from watching "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC? Its unintended amusement value.
Such was the case Friday night when journalist and author Carl Bernstein reined in Maddow during a segment aptly titled, "Talk Me Down."
Although most media members used the occasion of Mark Felt's death on December 18 to praise the former FBI official better known as "Deep Throat," George Friedman of the geopolitical intelligence organization Stratfor warned readers about journalists becoming "tools of various factions in political disputes" as well as "the relationship between security and intelligence organizations and governments in a Democratic society."
As Friedman indicated, Felt is a pop hero to media members across the fruited plain.
The Associated Press called him an "inspiration to a generation of investigative journalists" the day after his death. The Washington Post wrote days later, "Without a single byline he inspired thousands and thousands of campus misfits to get journalism degrees."
Unlike an adoring press that's always interested in the next gotcha story regardless of the consequences, Friedman, ever the concerned citizen looking out for America's national security interests, didn't write about Felt's role in the Watergate scandal with such glowing praise (emphasis added throughout, h/t many NBers):
Veteran Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein appeared on Wednesday's "Morning Joe" and gushed that Barack Obama's appointment of Hillary Clinton to the State Department will benefit from the "real wisdom" Bill Clinton has "when it comes to foreign policy." Continuing to fawn over the President-elect's cabinet choices, Bernstein enthused, "And the real thing about this appointment, though, is that Obama is assembling a group of people to unite the country."
The author of the Clinton bio "A Woman in Charge" optimistically added, "He [Obama] wants a political consensus so he can do what other presidents haven't been able to do, which is to move the country in the direction he wants without division down the middle." Bernstein didn't explain how the liberal senator, who's lifetime American Conservative Union score is seven, would "unite the country."
Bernstein, formerly with the Washington Post and Time magazine, lamented on the Monday night/Tuesday morning CBS show: “I think he's abandoned the principles of his campaign in 2000 and that's probably why he's in the difficulty he's in.” He elaborated:
The campaign of 2000 was built about being a really independent-spirited American politician and now he's really become a captive of the right wing of his party and its agenda and it shows, particularly through the pick of Sarah Palin.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani faced liberal lines of questioning from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Gloria Borger during the 6 PM EDT hour of The Situation Room before the network’s Thursday night coverage of the Republican convention. In particular, Borger pressed Giuliani on his differences with Sarah Palin on social issues: "Last night, you spoke before Sarah Palin, a woman who -- with whom you have very little in common on the social issues, right? She's pro-life.... [L]et's just say she's a heroine to the right wing of this party, and you're not their hero, okay?... [M]y question is, has the big tent of the Republican Party, which you always talk about -- has that gotten a little narrower?"
Click here for mp3 audio.
In between speeches by former governors Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, Anderson Cooper brought up the attacks on the media which, Cooper noted, is "something we certainly have heard before." CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin responded by proclaiming: "But there is a delicious irony about John McCain attacking the media. There is no politician in recent American history who has gotten better, more adoring press coverage than John McCain throughout his career."
After noting that Senator John McCain used to call the media his "base," Toobin went into attack mode against McCain and the Republican Party for their "unbecoming" attacks against the media:
During the two minutes between Roland Martin and Jeffrey Toobin’s two attacks on Sarah Palin after her speech at the Republican convention on Wednesday night, veteran journalist Carl Bernstein also criticized Republicans, since in his view, the Alaska governor’s speech demonstrated "that the Republican Right is running this election." CNN correspondent John King then reacted to Bernstein’s assessment, and offered some constructive criticism of the difference in coverage between the two conventions: "...[L]anguage matters in what we do, and I don't necessarily disagree with the point of what Carl was saying -- but we do speak a different language when we talk about this party [the Republican Party], and I think that's why we're often criticized." He then scolded the media in terms of labeling:
KING: To say the Right is running the Republican campaign -- if that means these people are the Right, then Carl's exactly right. But we didn't say, during the Democratic convention... all those delegates down on the floor -- you know, many of them were members of the Left.
Click here for mp3 audio.
During CNN's Super Tuesday election coverage, both liberal and conservative commentators took shots at conservatives as liberal Paul Begala declared that Mike Huckabee "don't believe in evolution or photosynthesis or gravity or anything," and liberal Carl Bernstein declared that Republican candidates were "trying to satisfy Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham rather than the people of the country." Conservative Bill Bennett quipped that conservative opposition to John McCain is a "kind of Trotskyism," and a "purification" of the Republican party. (Transcript follows)
CARL BERNSTEIN: One of the worst nights of Hillary Clinton's life. She had a chance at the end of the evening to be magnanimous, to say something about where her campaign is going to go. Instead she was shopworn, tired; it's exactly what they don't need, the Clinton campaign, and she's going to have an uphill fight from here in.
View the video here, not only to hear Bernstein's remarks, but to watch a Hillary acknowledge Obama's victory only in passing while spending most of the same sentence speaking of primaries to come.
Author and CNN commentator Carl Bernstein was interviewed on the Wednesday night edition of the Tavis Smiley show on PBS, and warned that the Clinton campaign has devolved into "the kind of campaign that we’re used to seeing against Republican right-wing opponents who the Clintons have identified over the years as their enemies. That is very much a take-no-prisoners scorched earth campaign, and I think that there are reasons to think that is causing a fissure within the Democratic Party that might be very damaging in the long run." He also suggested the former president was at his "most petulant" and "most disingenuous" in his attacks on Barack Obama.
UPDATE: I originally misread this as an attack on scorched-earth right-wing campaigns against Clinton, instead of Clinton's usual scorched-earth campaigns against right-wing opponents. I made Bernstein out to be more anti-conservative and so less troubled by intra-party division, and suggested he was ignoring history, when he was not. Smiley responded:
Ben Bradlee, the longtime executive editor of The Washington Post, sounded off with Radar Online media critic Charles Kaiser. He professed to be unimpressed with Hillary’s team, denounced Carl Bernstein in French, praised Rupert Murdoch’s skill at newspaper publishing, and denounced wars as something America does perpetually "to keep the standing army in good condition." First, the Hillary questions:
The Hillary Clinton juggernaut likes to try and run over every new threat, especially the ones they can call "old news." Every new book on her life, personal and political, is dismissed as "old news" – unless the person retelling and reshaping the "old news" is Hillary. Her recounting of her life is minty-fresh. Every other book smells like a reopened casket.
Whenever – if ever – authors of Hillary books are introduced by the national media, the tone of the interviews focuses in on Hillary’s talking point: "Why should anyone care?" From the start, the message is that these books belong in the garbage can, not in the library. The books that have come out this year have provided interesting new material that should in some way shape the media’s understanding of Hillary. Yet even liberals like Carl Bernstein or the New York Times duo of Jeff Gerth and Don van Natta have seen their books presented not as "news," but as a pernicious attempt to change Hillary’s narrative.