The “Liberal Media” At Work–Covering Up for Bush Once Again


Here’s the so-called liberal media at work. The Chris Matthews Show, where Matthews is typically more restrained than on Hardball, devoted four minutes to the prosecutor scandal in a panel discussion with orah O’Donnell, chief Washington correspondent for MSNBC, Richard Stengel, editor of Time magazine, Gloria Borger, national political correspondent for CBS News and columnist for U.S. News and World Report, and Patrick Healy, political reporter for The New York Times. There’s no discussion of the impropriety of firing prosecutors for failing to go after political enemies of the administration, or of the responsibility of Congress to preform oversight functions on the Executive Branch. Instead they basically accuse the Democrats of playing politics. The news media should be acting to investigate corruption, not acting as the surrogate defenders of the Bush administration.

Transcript is below the fold (hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report). Glenn Greenwald also discusses this issue at Salon.

MATTHEWS: Welcome back. The legend of Karl Rove has been over a decade in the making, ever since he teamed up with George W. Bush in 1994 in a down-and-dirty defeat of Governor Ann Richards. And of course, continuing with the wins over Gore and Kerry. The Bush-Rove team has developed a reputation for ruthlessness that’s earned them the hatred of a lot of Democrats, and also some grudging respect. When I interviewed Joe Biden on “Hardball” in 2005, he admitted there’s envy.

(Clip from July 12, 2005)

MATTHEWS: Do you think the Democrats wish they had a guy as good as Rove?

Senator JOE BIDEN: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. But I hopefully–yeah, yeah.


(End of clip)

MATTHEWS: Joe’s honest. Democrats are frustrated that Rove wasn’t indicted in the CIA leak case, but now that he’s been implicated in the firing of those US attorneys, it looks to some people as though Democrats are smelling blood.

Gloria, are they after Rove?

Ms. BORGER: Sure. You know, he’s the cross between Ahab and Darth Vader for them, for the Democrats. And honestly, they would love nothing more than to get him up before a congressional committee.


Ms. BORGER: But they want to change the subject, Chris. They don’t want to talk about how they’re doing on the war in Iraq or where they’re…

MATTHEWS: You’re with me on that. They divide over the war and fund-raising, but this makes it simple. It’s good for fund-raising.

Ms. BORGER: Right.

MATTHEWS: Guess who’s making this case? Chuck Schumer, who’s the chief fund-raiser.

Ms. BORGER: Of course.

MATTHEWS: Rick, here’s the question. When the dog catches the car, what do they do? They want a confession, like on “Perry Mason,” where Rove just says, `You’re right, I’m no good.’ Do they want him to show his horns and be really nasty? Or do they want him to get into a perjury rap? What’re they after with this guy?

Mr. STENGEL: Well, as Joe Biden implied, it looks like the car would run over the dog in that case. And there are no–there are no “Perry Mason” moments except for “Perry Mason.” I am so uninterested in the Democrats wanting Karl Rove, because it is so bad for them. Because it shows business as usual, tit for tat, vengeance.

MATTHEWS: (Unintelligible).

Ms. BORGER: Mm-hmm.

Mr. STENGEL: That’s not what voters want to see.

MATTHEWS: So instead of like an issue like the war where you can say it’s bigger than all of us, it’s more important than politics, this is politics.

Mr. STENGEL: Yes, and it’s much less. It’s small bore politics.

O’DONNELL: The Democrats have to be very careful that they look like they’re not the party of investigation rather than legislation in trying to change things.


O’DONNELL: But yes, they want a public flogging of Karl Rove up on Capitol Hill, to draw him up there when all of the cable networks cover that live, and to just beat the heck of him out there…


O’DONNELL: …and to put him under fierce questioning. The reason that the White House is resisting is not only on what they believe is grounds of, you know, executive privilege and etc., but also because they believe if they give on this issue, Karl Rove will be up there every other week on Katrina…


O’DONNELL: …on CIA leak, on a whole number of other things.

Mr. HEALY: And they’ve also had several years out of power, where they saw, you know, Dick Cheney come swaggering onto the Senate floor and cuss out, you know, Democratic senators, swear in their faces. This is their time for levers of power, and the Democrats say they want to use them.

MATTHEWS: What do they want?

Ms. BORGER: They want the American public to see their public enemy number one. You know, Karl Rove is one of the people, like the guy pulling the strings, the wizard, you know, and…


Ms. BORGER: And the American public doesn’t really know Karl Rove, and for some reason they think that it would help the Democrats to get him out there. I’m not so sure.

MATTHEWS: I think we’re all on–we’re not sure of the Democrat strategy here once again. We put it to the Matthews Meter, 12 of our regular panelists. Will the attorney general Alberto Gonzales keep his job? This one’s close. Seven say he’ll stick to his job, hold on to it, and five say he’s on the way out. Gloria, you say he’s toast.

Ms. BORGER: Eventually. Not now.

MATTHEWS: After he testifies?

Ms. BORGER: After he testifies and maybe a little bit while after that. Little bit longer after that.

MATTHEWS: That’s what I think. I think they’re going to let him skewer for a while.

Ms. BORGER: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: Norah, you say he’s not toast.

O’DONNELL: Well, I think that the president wants him to stay on in the job. I think that they realize replacing him would be just as difficult because then he’d have to be confirmed by a Democratic Congress, and I think that there is a degree of loyalty to this man that has worked with the president for a long time.

MATTHEWS: I think there’s going to be some sympathy for this guy, he’s Latino, he’s not a real politician. If those guys trash him up there, it’s going–it could backfire.

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