Only a stauch supporter of the Democrats would deny that the media has favored Barack Hussein Obama, and yet it was a staunch Democrate, Governor Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania, who spoke the truth about media bias.
It was an uncomfortable moment for the hosts of three network Sunday morning news shows.
Tom Brokaw of NBC News, Bob Schieffer of CBS News and George Stephanopoulos of ABC News had just finished a panel discussion at Denver's Brown Palace Hotel during which they had concluded that the media's coverage of the campaign so far had been largely fair.
Then Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell took the podium to deliver "closing remarks."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."
-- John Fund,
writing in the Wall Street Journal's POLITICAL DIARY ONLINE