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Friday, December 12, 2008
Graham's Lame Evidence of David Gregory's Bias
Topic: Media Research Center

In the tradition of its attacks on Katie Couric, the Media Research Center has greeted David Gregory's appointment as host of NBC's "Meet the Press" with dubious claims of liberal bias.

A Dec. 8 "Media Reality Check" by Tim Graham features as its key piece of evidence that Gregory was "an arrogant question-yeller at Bush White House press conferences" the following:

Take this exchange with Scott McClellan on the Plame leak probe on July 11, 2005: “This is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us after having commented with that level of detail and tell people watching this that somehow you decided not to talk. You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium, or not?...Why are you choosing when it's appropriate and when it's inappropriate [to comment]?” McClellan replied: “If you'll let me finish,” but Gregory insisted: “No, you're not finishing! You're not saying anything!”

Graham doesn't bother to tell his reader the context of that conversation. Gregory had earlier noted that, in contrast to McClellan's 2003 statement that Karl Rove had assured McClellan that he was not involved in leaking Valerie Plame's identity to reporters. Rove had in fact done so, and McClellan was evading giving a direct answer about whether he still stood by his 2003 statements.Immediately prior to the "This is ridiculous" statement Graham exerpted, Gregory had asked McClellan:

QUESTION: Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003, when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliot Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this"?

And immediately after Gregory said, "“No, you're not finishing! You're not saying anything!” the questioning continued:

QUESTION: No, you're not finishing. You're not saying anything.

You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn't he?

McCLELLAN: There will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

QUESTION: Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?

McCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.

And later:

QUESTION: After the investigation is completed, will you then be consistent with your word and the president's word that anybody who was involved will be let go?

McCLELLAN: Again, after the investigation is complete, I will be glad to talk about it at that point.

QUESTION: Can you walk us through why, given the fact that Rove's lawyer has spoken publicly about this, it is inconsistent with the investigation, that it compromises the investigation to talk about the involvement of Karl Rove, the deputy chief of staff, here?

McCLELLAN: Well, those overseeing the investigation expressed a preference to us that we not get into commenting on the investigation while it's ongoing. And that was what they requested of the White House. And so I think in order to be helpful to that investigation, we are following their direction.

Rather than expressing arrogance, Gregory was simply pointing out the fact when he accused McClellan of not answering the question at hand. Yet to Graham, to do that is to express liberal bias.

And because there isn't a whole lot of diversity of thought at the MRC, Seton Motley copies-and-pastes Graham's claim in a Dec. 9 Human Events article (reprinted at NewsBusters) as among the purported "examples aplenty" of Graham's liberal bias.

Sadly, this is apparently the best Graham and Motley can come up with.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 AM EST

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