Topic: Media Research Center
When Sean Hannity thinks you're being too insensitive, perhaps you are.
That's the situation Tim Graham found himself in when he appeared on the Feb. 8 edition of Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes," in which he repeated his previous suggestion that David Shuster's stating that Hillary Clinton's campaign was "pimp[ing] out" Chelsea Clinton was something of a justified corrective of previous overly fawning coverage of Chelsea:
GRAHAM: I would say this, however, Sean. Let me disagree with you just a tiny bit. And that is, Chelsea Clinton now is 27 years old. She is not the 13-year-old that moved into the White House. And that problem that -- we have a much greater problem in the United States today, that she's been treated --
HANNITY: But wait a minute, Tim -- but Tim, to pimp out her daughter? You don't find that -- you know what? She's a young lady, and by all accounts -- I gotta be honest. She conducts herself with class, she seems like a nice kid. Leave the children of candidates alone. Leave 'em alone, even if they're campaigning. I think it's out of bounds. Leave Chelsea alone. I don't think it's fair.
GRAHAM: Well, the younger you are, I guess, the less you object. Maybe this -- he should have made this kind of comment on MTV News, and we wouldn't have heard about it. I'm simply saying that, in fact, Sean, the New York TImes, other media outlets have reported on Chelsea and during this campaign cycle with such an adoring tone, they really treat her like Saint Chelsea.
While Hannity didn't identify Graham as a conservative, per the template, Alan Colmes did, and noted the double standard he was following, as Graham continued to peddle his idea of a corrective:
GRAHAM: Well, there is a double standard. Keith Olbermann could come on and say Bush is responsible for killing 3,500 Americans. Or remember when he called Chris Wallace a monkey posing as a newscaster?
COLMES: Well, you want to change the debate here and make it about other people and that you conservatives are the poor, put-upon people. This was a knock at Chelsea Clinton by a reporter and a network you're claiming is left-wing and part of the MoveOn.org crowd. And yet it was a knock against the Clintons. Wasn't it John McCain who also did a joke and said she was the daughter of Janet Reno and Hillary Clinton, that's Chelsea Clinton, and of course he apologized for the joke. These are the things that conseratives are doing, it seems, to knock the Clintons.
GRAHAM: Well, David is not a conservative. I mean, I don't think -- everything you've looked at David Shuster saying in the past five years since he joined MSNBC or whatever, not a conserative. I mean --
COLMES: All right, but the point is --
GRAHAM: -- typical liberal journalist.
GRAHAM: I'm simply saying I think we do have way too much sensitivity toward Chelsea Clinton. The New York Times again -- this piece that Jodi Kantor wrote last year, where she sort of said, "People were so excited that her lips moved and sound came out." There's just too much worship there.
COLMES: Do you think it's appropriate, what David Shuster said? Are you going to defend his comments?
GRAHAM: No. I'm simply saying there's a hypersensitivity that we treat her like she's 13. I'm saying -- I'm agreeing with you. Why would you ban somebody for saying something like that when, you know, people in our public life --
COLMES: He should get his job back at some point. But Sean is right, that this is -- we shouldn't be going after the kids of candidates and people in office.
(Actually, Media Matters has a notable file on Shuster, contradicting Graham's claim that "everything" Shuster has said at MSNBC is liberal.)
By the way, the July 2007 Times article Graham complains about, while positive, is not nearly so fawning as he portrays. Still, Graham's boss, Brent Bozell, attacked it at the time as portraying Chelsea and Hillary as "two clones of Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way" and scoffed at a description of another Times article about letters Hillary wrote while a college student as "humanizing." The last thing Bozell wants Hillary to be thought of is having human qualities (as we've noted).
Graham continued the attack in a Feb. 10 NewsBusters post, claiming that Shuster's apology "underlines everything that's wrong in Chelsea coverage, the way that she is relentlessly used to offer hosannas to Bill Clinton as a parent (such a role model), not to mention her mother's willingness to stay in the marriage, hmm, perhaps in part due to her career aspirations."
So basically, Graham is saying what we've said about the MRC before: that they are furious whenever anyone says anything remotely nice about the Clintons.