Governor Ed Rendell Attacks Media Over Bias for Obama
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell was supposed to give “closing remarks” during this afternoon’s Shorenstein Center-sponsored panel discussion with all three Sunday show moderators — NBC’s Tom Brokaw, ABC’s George Stephanopoulous and CBS’s Bob Schieffer — but instead, he opened up a can of worms about bias in 2008 election coverage
"Ladies and gentleman, the coverage of Barack Obama was embarrassing," said Rendell, in the ballroom at Denver's Brown Palace Hotel. "It was embarrassing."
Rendell, an ardent Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter during the primaries, now backs Obama in the general election. Brokaw and Rendell began debating campaign coverage, including the on-air comments by Lee Cowan, and when MSNBC came up, Rendell went after the cable network.
“MSNBC was the official network of the Obama campaign," Rendell said, who called their coverage "absolutely embarrassing."
Chris Matthews, Rendell said, "loses his impartiality when he talks about the Clintons.”
At that point, PBS's Judy Woodruff, who was moderating the moderators event, said: "Why don’t we let Governor Rendell sit down."
That was met with applause from the crowd of big-time media figures, which included Arianna Huffington, Gwen Ifill, Al Hunt, and Chuck Todd.
Woodruff allowed Brokaw to respond, and in defending the network, he said that Matthews and Keith Olbermann are "not the only voices" on MSNBC.
John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary has this slightly different take on this:
Mr. Rendell, a Hillary Clinton backer, came to bury the Big Three, not to praise them. He told the crowd of 300 political luminaries that the media's coverage of the Democratic primaries had elevated personalities over substance and he complained of sexism in its treatment of Senator Clinton. He called the media's kid-gloves handling of Barack Obama "absolutely embarrassing," and suggested that the media had essentially given the presumptive Democratic nominee, whom he now supports, "a free pass." Journalists, he said, had allowed themselves unprofessionally to be "caught up with emotion and excitement" in the historic nature of the Obama candidacy. He even called MSNBC "the official network of Obama's campaign."
Tom Brokaw jumped to his network's defense, saying he and others had expressed dissatisfaction with on-air comments by NBC reporters like Lee Cowan. He also agreed that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews had "gone over the line" at times in comments about Mrs. Clinton but emphasized they were "commentators" and not reporters.
Mr. Rendell wasn't mollified. "Chris Matthews loses his impartiality when he talks about the Clintons," he told the audience. At that point, moderator Judy Woodruff moved to wind up the proceedings before they could become even more heated.
Many in the audience were surprised at the extent to which Mr. Rendell was still carrying a torch for Hillary Clinton and criticizing media coverage of Barack Obama. "I thought he was a Democrat," one person next to me commented. "Here, he is a Hillarista first," her companion commented. "Her campaign for the next presidential election begins at this convention."