MSNBC's Pentagon Pundit

A recent New York Times article (11/29/08) offers fresh documentation of conflicts of interest involving one of TV's most famous retired generals, Barry McCaffrey, who continues to be employed as an NBC military analyst even as he rakes in profits from military contractors. The story of how McCaffrey and at least 74 other retired generals were receiving briefings through a secret Pentagon propaganda program was broken by the New York Times back in April (4/20/08); however, it received scarcely a mention on the TV news outlets that employed these Pentagon pundits. One exception was Keith Olbermann's Countdown on MNSBC (4/21/08). […]


False Balance, TV Critic Style

New York Times TV reporter Jim Rutenberg (11/2/08) tries to make a case that Fox News and MSNBC are (in Tom Rosenstiel's words) "reverse images of each other." Here are the actual quotes used by Rutenberg to demonstrate this supposed parallelism–first, Ann Coulter on Fox (10/30/08): I feel like we are talking to the Germans after Hitler comes to power, saying, "Oh, well, I didn't know." And then Chris Matthews on MSNBC (10/29/08), addressing those who wouldn't vote for Obama because he's black: He's been a good father, a good citizen, he's paid attention to his country…. Give the guy […]


Pundit Projection Syndrome

The affliction that causes national political commentators to project their own perceptions onto the public– let's call it Pundit Projection Syndrome–is affecting David Gregory's ability to come to grips with the fact that the public just wasn't as into John McCain's and Sarah Palin's debate performances as he was. Last night on his MSNBC show, Race for the White House With David Gregory (10/6/08), the anchor demonstrated his confusion in a discussion with liberal-leaning pundit Laurence O'Donnell: GREGORY: Yes. Lawrence, let me show you another number here, which pertains to the debates in particular. Which ticket is doing better in […]