The Hazards of Live TV: #25,003

This could have just as easily been filed under Talking Head Primetime Invades Daytime. Why did Ziegler get booked? I saw the blurb that Ziegler was upcoming and I thought a) Well that’s something to avoid, and b) How bad will the damage be? Pretty bad it turned out.

Who the heck is in charge of booking over at MS? What possible motive could they have had to book a proven bomb thrower like Ziegler over there (hint: it’s not journalism)? You’re not going to get any sort of pertinent information out of Ziegler. So why bother? Is this how bad the state of Dayside has sunk to, they have to book people they already know aren’t going to provide information but just freakshow like fireworks?

I give Brewer a lot of credit for how she handled this interview. She tried playing it straight, well past the point that one could tell this would be just another Ziegler moment (that occurred around the 30 second mark), which is a lot longer than a lot of her easy to lose it compatriots would have (David Shuster, Tamron Hall) though I probably could have done without the “commentary” about Ziegler’s M.O. Still, on the whole, she did good.

Note to MS: Keep Ziegler off dayside. If you want shouting matches, book him in primetime. Oh, wait…Olbermann doesn’t book people of opposing viewpoints. Maddow is better at it but not perfect. There’s always Hardball I suppose. No wonder people like Ziegler wind up on Dayside.

Update:

Ziegler comments on the John Gibson radio show (via J$)

Note to Gibson: I wouldn’t make too much about the “cut your mic” remark given the propensity for talent at your former cable news network to cut people’s mics off.

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45 Responses to “The Hazards of Live TV: #25,003”

  1. Sort of reminds me of a Howard Stern call. Except they invited it. Knowingly. Bababooey, indeed.

  2. This is what passes for objective journalism in America today.

    BREWER: Let me ask you what Sarah Palin’s problem with Letterman was. What was it about the “Top Ten” list that hurt her feelings?

    ZIEGLER: Well, I don’t know if her feelings were hurt, you’d have to ask her. She called David Letterman “pathetic” which I think was an understatement because not only did he call her “slutty,” you left out the part where he also joked about her teenaged daughter being knocked-up by Alex Rodriguez in the middle of Yankee Stadium while she was at the game. By the way, I also happened to ask her about Keith Olbermann blatantly lying about her allegedly plagiarizing a speech which she didn’t do. I doubt that that’ll come up on this particular network.

    BREWER: It was certainly not going to come up other than your mention in this particular interview because I want to ask you about David Letterman and Sarah Palin. But, again, if you’d like to talk about that I’m willing to go forward with the conversation. Yes?

    ZIEGLER: I’ll talk about whatever you want. Hit me with your best shot.

    BREWER: Good. In this case, it’s comedy. To talk about her real itinerary in New York, kind of serious. Not really funny. Why did she take such offense? She called him “pathetic,” so she obviously took offense. Why was she so offended by David Letterman?

    Contessa, wasn’t the Imus comments about the female basketball players “comedy”. I’m sure you applied the same standards to that situation (not).

    Furthermore, let me get this straight, on national TV it is implied that your 14 year daughter had sex (rape) by a thirty something steriod abusing ballplayer and the best question you can come up with is “Why was she so offended by David Letterman?”

    A better question would be why aren’t others offended.

  3. zonedaiatlas Says:

    Is this the same Contessa Brewer who cried and almost quit after Don Imus said, “With that fat ass she’s got, she wouldn’t be one of ‘em,”. “That skank has to spend three hours with makeup in the morning … Who’s she kidding? . . . Plus, she’s dumber than dirt … Oh, my God, what a pig. But I was willing to cut her some slack and not say anything, you know, until – in fact, I didn’t say anything . . . That’s why they have those big double-doors there at MSNBC, you know, so they can get her fat ass in makeup.”

    Contessa Brewer = hypocrite

  4. stevemg Says:

    Still, on the whole, she did good.

    Hmm, she wanted to control the interview entirely and take it in a pre-determined direction. It wasn’t an interview; it was an attempt to promote a “What’s Palin complaining about now?” storyline.

    Granted, Ziegler’s obnoxious and has his own agenda. She could have asked him what he had for lunch and he would have given his prepared shots at Olbermann and MSNBC.

    I’m not sure how you would handle a Ziegler on live TV; but she didn’t do it.

    The “could have been worse” standard is grading on quite a curve.

  5. joeremi Says:

    Why does Sarah Palin respond to late night comics? It makes her look thin-skinned. Worse, it makes her look like she has bad political instincts. Potential presidential candidates have been putting up with the late night firing squad since Johnny Carson’s days. If you can’t stand that heat, you’ll never make it to the White House kitchen.

  6. stevemg Says:

    Why does Sarah Palin respond to late night comics? It makes her look thin-skinned.

    Simple rule: Politician’s minor children should be offlimits for sex jokes.

    I don’t understand either the right’s adoration of her or the left’s hatred of her. She’s clearly not qualified for high office and any campaign would expose that.

    James Lilek’s explained it:

    If your mother is a loathed politician, and your older sister gets pregnant, famous old men can make jokes about you being knocked up by rich baseball players, and there’s nothing you can do. That’s the culture: a flat, dead-eyed, square-headed old man who’ll go back to the writers and ask for more Palin-daughter knocked-up jokes, because that one went over well. Other children he won’t touch, but not because he’s decent. It’s because he’s a coward.

    She’s an easy target because, in large part, the left, which dominates the media and culture, have made her into a monster idiot dangerous fraud. Or something.

    And center-left people should be upset with that.

    At least the center part.

  7. joeremi Says:

    I agree that Letterman should leave the kid out of it. I felt that having the pregnant daughter placed front and center in the campaign while preaching abstinence-only education made her pregnancy a discussable topic, but the jokes are unfair.

    I don’t agree that “the left” caused Palin’s image problem. She has a fatal flaw. She’s not very bright, yet supremely assured of herself. Many people find that a terrifying combination for a pontential presidential candidate.

  8. stevemg Says:

    I don’t agree that “the left” caused Palin’s image problem.

    I agree with your disagreement. Her political problems with the public are almost entirely self-inflicted.

    But the harshness and meaness directed at her – and her family -comes from a left that dominates the culture. Let’s face it: they see her as white-trash and treat her accordingly. With absolute contempt.

    Contempt not just as a political figure; but as a person.

  9. bushleaguer Says:

    zonedaiatlas – Brewer was asked how she would like it if someone in the media made sexist comments about her, and she said that she has been there, done that. She didn’t go into specifics, but your quotes from the Imus show prove her contention.

    Letterman went over the line but Palin should brush it off as late-night nonsense and say that she is focused on the problems the country and her state are facing right now. Even if she is right (which in this case I think she is), she comes off looking bad whenever she is seen as eager to engage in petty fights with comics.

  10. joeremi Says:

    Contempt not just as a political figure; but as a person.

    She didn’t help herself by starting out as such a condescending jerk at the Republican Convention. Call it sexist if you want, but when a pretty girl comes out of nowhere acting like queen bee and being mean, it tends to rub “regular folks” the wrong way. It’s another example of bad politics, too. Sarah Palin with Mike Huckabee’s demeanor would have charmed a lot of voters. Letting her be attack dog was a big mistake.

  11. laural1 Says:

    But she shouldn’t respond to it,,, why? Oh, it makes HER look bad? Gotcha. So all day long we hear about Rush and supposed mean-spirited comments from the Right, but when the Left does it, there’s about 18 reasons why it should be ignored. As a result, you have the idiotic assertion(in other places) that it is somehow conservatives who are consistently out-of-bounds, and liberals are the peace-loving, tolerant beings that they imagine themselves to be.
    Zeigler, while correct, is an @ss; Palin need to throw it back at them. She won’t overcome the smears by ignoring them. Obviously, it shouldn’t be her total focus, a couple of well-placed shots will do. Ooh, inadvertent imagery.

  12. Hmm, she wanted to control the interview entirely and take it in a pre-determined direction. It wasn’t an interview; it was an attempt to promote a “What’s Palin complaining about now?” storyline.

    Um, that’s not what I was referring to when I said she did good. I was referring to her resisting temptation and not going into the gutter and get into a back and forth shouting match with Ziegler which others at her network either have done or have shown the propensity to do so.

    It’s impossible not to mix it up a little with Ziegler due to his provacative bomb throwing instigation tactics. But Brewer tried to play the interview as straight as she could and lasted longer at it than some of her coleagues have.

    But let’s face it. Ziegler didn’t go into this with the intention of honestly answering the questions posed to him. He saw it as an opportunity to throw as much mud as possible at NBC. Given his nature, I can’t blame him for taking MSNBC up on the free meal. The blame lies with MSNBC’s bookers for thinking, yet again, that bringing Ziegler on is a good idea.

  13. zonedaiatlas Says:

    Joeremi, How do you know she’s not very bright? Do you know her IQ? Do you have her transcripts from highschool or college? Do you have her SAT scores? Do you have any proof at all to back your comment or is this another smear from left wing elitists who thinks people on the right are stupid?

    Stevemg, What makes you think she’s not qualified? She was a Mayor, and now she’s is a Governor. Most elected Presidents have been Governors. Why do you think the American people elected Governors as President for? Maybe they have something to do with experience in running a state unlike a Senator.

  14. stevemg Says:

    I was referring to her resisting temptation and not going into the gutter and get into a back and forth shouting

    I don’t think we’re that far apart.

    My only point was that the “It could have been worse” scale isn’t much to hang one’s hat on. Although given what’s been going on, as you note, it’s an improvement that one should cheer.

    We agree entirely on Ziegler. If you’re going to have him on, you’d better be on the top of your game. Otherwise, he’ll take the interview over.

    Anyway, thanks for the blog.

  15. smh3477 Says:

    Done with your screed Zone?

    How do we know she’s STUPID? Let us count the ways (obviously these are paraphrased, but not far off):

    1) What newspapers do you read? All of them.
    2) What about Alaska’s proximity to Russia qualifies as national security experience? Well it certainly does. When Putin comes into our air space and rears his head, where does he do that? Alaska.
    3) Say it ain’t so Joe. *Wink*

    Etcetera, etcetera.

    She is an idiot. Just because you identify with her doesn’t change that.

  16. joeremi Says:

    Laural, I’m coming from a political analysis point of view, which I thought I made clear. I certainly don’t blame Palin for being offended by the joke – well, my wife thought it was a compliment, but I digress – it’s just not smart politics to respond to late night comics. It brings you down to standup comic level, and it’s unwinnable. Comics are ruthless. One chink in your armor and they go for the kill…and have 5 nights a week to get it right.

    If she was going to respond, her best bet would have been, “I don’t want to know about Dave’s fantasies.” (insert wink here)

  17. dvschase Says:

    I agree with the commentary, spud. Why book him? He says his insults with a smile, and knows what he is doing. He is in it for the reaction, and he craves fame. Why is he booked during a “news” period like dayside. Brewer was pretty reserved, but she should not have had to be put in that situation. Now, if they would have gotten Palin to defend herself and she acted that way, that would be actual journalism. but not this clown.

  18. dvschase Says:

    “But the harshness and meaness directed at her – and her family -comes from a left that dominates the culture. ”

    Letterman’s jokes about H. Clinton and her “cankles” or her being a man etc in his top ten never bothered the right? get over it.

  19. joeremi Says:

    I finally heard the audio of Palin responding to the Letterman joke. It changes my perception. It sounds like she’s responding to a question and her tone is lighthearted. She doesn’t come across as thin-skinned or upset. Now she’s gotten sort of an apology from Dave for the A-Rod joke. Point Palin.

  20. bigred08 Says:

    The minor children of politicians should not be the butt of jokes for late night comedians. Period.

    dvs, you didn’t hear Letterman, or anyone else, going after Chelsea Clinton. She was considered off-limits, as it should have been. Even now, other than MSNBC’s David Shuster saying she was being pimped out, she’s been off-limits.

    But because Palin is a conservative, everything is fair game for the lefties, even her MINOR CHILDREN.

    Very low class on Letterman’s part.

    It was also low class on Brewer’s part to grill Ziegler on “why would she be so offended”? How ridiculous. Wouldn’t you be if someone said that about your daughter?

  21. joeremi Says:

    For the record Red, Bristol is 18. It’s still a tasteless joke, but she’s not a minor.

  22. stevemg Says:

    Letterman’s jokes about H. Clinton and her “cankles” or her being a man etc in his top ten never bothered the right? get over it.

    Right, joking about “cankles” is analagous to jokes about sex with a politican’s younger daughter.

    Good grief, the things that people write on the internet is mind boggling sometimes. Simply incredible.

  23. stevemg Says:

    For the record Red, Bristol is 18. It’s still a tasteless joke, but she’s not a minor.

    Bristol wasn’t at the game. It was the youngest daughter Willow, who is 14, who was there.

    That’s who everyone thought Letterman was referring to.

  24. bigred08 Says:

    You’re right. I stand corrected. Still, totally low class & unnecessary.

    Also, Spud, you might want to watch that entire interview again.

    Brewer questions why Palin would be offended when she’s called a slut, and her daughter basically is too……. but ends the interview saying SHE FEELS INSULTED because Ziegler railed against MSNBC.

    So, today’s lesson is……..it’s ok if you call someone, and her daughter, a slut, but it’s not ok to criticize the slanted coverage of a news network.

  25. joeremi Says:

    Right, joking about “cankles” is analogous to jokes about sex with a politician’s younger daughter.

    Are we trying to create an urban myth here? Apparently the Palins made this accusation, too. The joke was about Bristol, the older daughter. You know, the one with a baby. Why would a “knocked up” joke be directed at the 14-year-old?

    It’s a tasteless joke. We don’t need the added creepiness of turning it on the 14-year-old. The joke doesn’t even make sense that way.

  26. bigred08 Says:

    Either way, Joe, Contessa Brewer can’t understand why Sarah Palin would be insulted……. but says twice, SHE’S INSULTED, because Ziegler criticized her network.

    Ridiculous!!!

  27. stevemg Says:

    The joke was about Bristol, the older daughter. You know, the one with a baby. Why would a “knocked up” joke be directed at the 14-year-old?

    Once again, Bristol wasn’t at the game. Willow, the 14-year old was.

    Lettermann couldn’t have been referring to A-Rod having sex with Bristol at the stadium since it was Willow who was there.

    I just read that Lettermann now says he didn’t know this, that he believed (or his writers) that Bristol was there.

    If true, he gets a partial pass.

    Still, it’s unseemly and ugly and only the Palin hating loons think it’s no big deal.

    And I’m not a fan of Palin’s by any stretch.

  28. joeremi Says:

    Yeah, I didn’t think Dave’s writers would actually care which kid was actually there. They got the narrative of the joke in their heads and went with it.

    Also for the record, as I’ve stated in previous posts: I don’t blame Palin for being insulted by either joke. One was a little below the standard we should be applying to public figures (KO’s opinion, too, by the way), the other was even worse (that one’s unanimous).

    I originally thought she made a poor political decision in responding, but after hearing her audio, then Dave’s “apology”, I think it was well played. Of course they both win anyway. Sarah gets some (sorely needed) public goodwill, and Dave gets a ratings boost tonight during his second week against Conan.

  29. stevemg Says:

    Sarah gets some (sorely needed) public goodwill, and Dave gets a ratings boost tonight during his second week against Conan.

    Well, neither one will ever wind up being President, that’s for sure.

    Thank God.

    As I said above, I’m nonplussed as to why my conservatives friends think she’s great or why my liberal (occasional) friends think she’s such a threat.

    She ain’t going nowhere folks.

  30. joeremi Says:

    Well, your conservative and liberal friends can agree on one thing…she’s smokin! Oh sue me. :)

  31. lesnessmanwkrp Says:

    Inside Cable is becoming more like the old Brian “TV Newser”.

    How can any objective person defend Contessa’s comments?

    I would remind people that David Schuster was suspended for the Chelsea Clinton “pimping out” comments. (Granted, he just attacked the Clintons because he is an Obama supporter).

    Letterman went over the line. Any mother would be upset.

    Contessa is about on par with Olbermann when it comes to being an objective “journalist”.

    MSNBC is just slanted opinion all day. They don’t even try and do any actual news at all.

  32. sviscusi Says:

    A question, why have Ziegler on at all? He’s never done peer reviewed work, he’s never received lengthy formal education on any subject, and he’s not a longtime time member of the group he’s attacking. All he is, is a failed 4th string right wing talk show host who wrote a book. He’s not an expert on anything, he has about as much qualifications as a random drunk guy at a bar.

  33. dvschase Says:

    “Right, joking about “cankles” is analagous to jokes about sex with a politican’s younger daughter.”

    um, public figures are fair game. in journalism and in comedy. but of course you are distracting from what i actually said. And if you have never heard a negative comment about chelsea then…I actually am not sure where you have been. the gop candidate is on record saying something way harsher.

    “Good grief, the things that people write on the internet is mind boggling sometimes. Simply incredible.”

    you are correct. this episode upset you so much, but when he made h. clinton seem like a man because she was “powerful,” I don’t remember your comment or the right wing’s “outrage.” It is comedy. I like clinton. i wasnt offended. she obviously wasn’t because she went on the show, what?, 5 times after? and he never stopped making fun of her. don’t make it a left v right issue cause anyone who would do that would obviously be looking at it from one side only, with an agenda, and biased eyes.

  34. stevemg Says:

    um, public figures are fair game

    Their children too? Underage ones? Sex jokes?

    All of that is “fair game”?

    Even Lettermann had to apologize and explain that he wasn’t directing it at the 14-year old daughter.

    But I assume you think he didn’t need to apologize?

    Because it’s “fair game”?

  35. dvschase Says:

    uh, he thought he was joking about the daughter that actually had a baby. but ya, actually, whole families of “full- purpose” public figures are fair game. research media law. If he actually meant the younger daughter, then ya, poor taste. but the one that was paraded on national tv, she has no right to public privacy whether in good taste or not.

    and have you never hear anything negative about c. clinton? really? or is that too much to deal with? hypocrisy can be like that

  36. bigred08 Says:

    dvs, please provide these numerous examples of people attacking Chelsea Clinton, other than the Obama loving David Shyster.

  37. joeremi Says:

    C’mon Red, Chelsea suffered some nasty stuff back in the ’90s. You’re probably not old enough to remember.

  38. bigred08 Says:

    I’m in my 30s Joe. The 90s are a tad hazy, but I do remember them.

    And I don’t remember any late night comedian making any jokes about Chelsea.

  39. chipsohio Says:

    uh, he thought he was joking about the daughter that actually had a baby. but ya, actually, whole families of “full- purpose” public figures are fair game. research media law.

    DVS…Just because it may be supported by media law it does not make it right to go after Palin’s 18 yo, 14 yo, or any of her children. When can I expect someone mocking/ridiculing of the President’s children? It’s despicable for any comedian/commentator to mock a politician’s child.

    To me it doesn’t matter… ALL CHILDREN of politicians should be off limits. They sure as hell didn’t sign up to be ridiculed.

    I’m a fairly regular viewer of David Letterman & I certainly don’t remember him mocking Al & Tipper Gore’s son for his speeding, drunk driving & drug issues. Based upon his previous missteps, he certainly hasn’t followed dad’s “environmentally friendly” footsteps. ;)

    BR…I have to agree with Joe, Rush did make some pretty crude comments about Chelsea Clinton during President Clinton’s first term.

  40. Contessa is about on par with Olbermann when it comes to being an objective “journalist”.

    Oh that comment is so ridiculous it’s beyond the pale. Whatever you thought of Brewer’s behavior today, and yes it wasn’t perfect (but was a heck of a lot better than I’ve seen from others who’ve tangled with Ziegler), Brewer is not even in the same league as Olbermann when it comes to partisanship and cherry picking facts to fit the story.

  41. laural1 Says:

    It’s a long story, but to the best of my knowledge Rush did not make ‘crude comments’ about Chelsea Clinton. There was a moment on his TV show where he did a ‘Hot/Not’, ‘In/Out’-type list where two pictures were transposed. It was supposed to be ‘Out:Cute dog in the White House; In:Cute kid in the White House’. Well, the pictures were transposed and Ms. Clinton’s came up first. The audience laughed; the host smiled, maybe chuckled(perhaps in embarrassment), and I may have laughed(definitely not cool). He said it was a technical glitch, or something.
    He apologized when it happened, apologized on the radio next day and on TV the next night. Years later he mentioned running into Mrs Clinton at a wedding, and said he met with her long enough to apologize to her for something. Always assumed it was the Chelsea thing, can’t imagine what else it would be.
    Unless I’ve missed or glossed over some other Chelsea comment, that’s pretty much it.

  42. chipsohio Says:

    Laural…I’ll have to respectfully disagree with you as I remember Rush having “dog barking” sound effects on his radio show. I used to be a fairly regular Rush listener however I draw the line at mocking any kid (doesn’t matter if it’s a Republican or Democrat) and at a the time I felt Rush crossed the line.

    Perhaps he did apologize to Mrs. Clinton & if he did I give him a lot of credit for doing the right thing. It’s tough enough being a kid without being mocked on the nation’s airwaves.

    David Letterman seems to have an obsession with Governor Palin. Perhaps he should sit down with a trained mental health professional & discuss his issues. ;)

  43. stevemg Says:

    uh, he thought he was joking about the daughter that actually had a baby. but ya, actually, whole families of “full- purpose” public figures are fair game. research media law

    No one here has stated that Lettermann didn’t have the legal right to go after the children or family of Palin’s. No one is arguing that Palin has some sort of legal redress for the jokes.

    The issue is the propriety of the act.

    I’ll note again that when it was initially thought that the joke was directed at the 14-year old – since she was at the game and not the 18-year old Bristol – you stated it was “fair game.”

    You think it’s okay to mock and ridicule the underage children of public figures.

    I, and many others, don’t. Not legally wrong; just ethically wrong.

    End of discussion

  44. [...] He decided to make this confrontational. That’s all on him. This wasn’t like when MSNBC booked a known bomb thrower and provocateur like John Ziegler on Contessa Brewer’s hour. What ensued with Ziegler was easily predictable…what ensued with Carney was [...]

  45. [...] Ricks absolutely was picking a fight with FNC the same way that John Ziegler tried to pick a fight with Contessa Brewer and got booted off MSNBC. If you attack a network you are appearing on with that kind of rhetoric, you should expect to get [...]

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