In Depth: Talking Head Primetime Invades Daytime…

Ok, I’m supposed to be packing for Monterey right now but I just cannot ignore the above without commenting.

If you were presented the above clip and you were a seasoned viewer of cable news you would have naturally assumed that this sort of in your face back and forth ideological shoutfest was taken from one of the many cable news primetime programs. And you would be wrong. Dead wrong.

And that is what is so troubling about David Shuster’s ridiculous over the top “interview” of John Ziegler. I put “interview” in quotes because it was less an interview than it was an embarrassment for NBC News in general and MSNBC Dayside in particular. It was so wrong on so many levels it defies categorization.

NBC News from Jeff Zucker, to Steve Capus to Phil Griffin have said over and over and over again in defense of Keith Olbermann’s and Chris Matthews’ primetime shows that they’re supposed to be opinion; that the viewer understands there’s a difference between what transpires on NBC News and MSNBC News Dayside and what happens on MSNBC Primetime. Well today’s interview didn’t occur during primetime. It occurred during daytime, during MSNBC Dayside…you know the time of the day when it’s supposed to be about news and not opinion. The supposed line that Zucker, Capus, and Griffin have maintained exists between dayside and primetime was most certainly blurred today, if not outright trampled over. This was a massive mistake.

I wanted to give Shuster the benefit of the doubt. When I read about what happened before I saw the clip, I thought “Ok, maybe the interview started out okay and then spun wildly out of control…it was an accident…those things can happen”. But then I saw the interview and had to abandon that theory in short order. Shuster wasn’t interested in conducting a straight interview. It started when Shuster erected a straw man argument regarding the term “assassinated” and went downhill fast from there. And this sentence says a lot about Shuster’s agenda.

Right, as opposed to the agenda of people like you, to boost Sarah Palin, who is clearly unqualified. Most Americans, 65%, say she’s unqualified. You and your colleagues are trying to circle back and get her ready for 2012.

Put anyone else from MSNBC Dayside on instead of Shuster and this interview doesn’t explode like a keg of nitro. Shuster has a documented history of going over the line. Hell, he got suspended for it last year.

This isn’t about Ziegler. It isn’t even about Palin. Anyone who reads ICN knows I thought she was a cynical choice for VP and not qualified. No, this is about shoot from this hip opinion masquerading as journalism. And it’s not just Shuster who has done this recently. Everyone from Megyn Kelly to Julie Banderas to Campbell Brown has allowed themselves to turn what was supposed to be a journalistic interview into nothing more than the same old talking head shoutfest that we get in primetime.

Dayside news is supposed to be for people who want news. If we want opinion we watch primetime. That’s the way it’s been. Increasingly that’s not the way it’s going. And it should stop.


33 Responses to “In Depth: Talking Head Primetime Invades Daytime…”

  1. I have to agree. I argued in a separate post about the veracity of a journalist stating the obvious, that Palin was not qualified to stumble into the presidency, but Shuster has done much more than that several times, including hosting the partisan Countdown. He also seems to be injecting opinion into 1600, a program David Gregory seemed to be able to run (boringly) without doing so.

    MSNBC needs to decide who David Shuster is, then keep him assigned to that role. And Shuster needs to watch Shepard Smith if he wants to be considered a journalist. I have no idea who Shep voted for.

  2. It is about time they gave DaviD Shuster his own program. He just can’t help himself, poor fellow.

  3. Thanks for posting this Spud.

    Shuster obviously did not watch the interview with Palin, or simply chose to ignore her answers about what publications she reads.

    As usual, he brought his partisan douchebaggery into the segment.
    And as usual, he embarassed MSNBC. Not that they care, since he’s towing the liberal line.

  4. Actually what Shuster was trying-but-failing to get at (I watched the whole thing live) was that it took her quite a while to finally arrive at USA Today and New York Times in her answer to Ziegler, which reinforces the suspicion that she can barely come up with two titles. And she goes on to claim that her problem with Couric’s question was that it implied Alaskans were a bunch of doofuses. Fine, answer the question, then turn on Katie and reprimand her for asking such a condescending question. It’s revisionist history. When Couric asked, she couldn’t think of anything.

    She should have gone after Gibson, too. “No , I don’t know what the Bush Doctrine is, and neither does anybody else.”

  5. libertyandjustice Says:

    It’s still a free country so David and the network can reflect their liberal bias all day long if they want to. The real problem is the disingenuousness (lying) of the executive management. David will be probably be promoted. I can almost hear the back slapping in Manhattan, Georgetown and in Jeff Zucker’s office. He is just saying what management thinks.
    The media and a fellow blogger continue to have Palin Derangement Syndrome. LOL.

  6. Palin Derangement? Are you kidding me? I’m a news and politics junkie. Sarah Palin is Gold!

  7. bushleaguer Says:

    Well said – this nonsense should be confined to the prime time and not be going on during what’s supposed to be the hard news hours during the day. I don’t have a problem with anchors correcting falsehoods but Schuster delved way too far into opinion.

    Hopefully this won’t become the norm moving forward, because it is embarrassing and as the moderator noted it isn’t confined to MSNBC (Megan Kelly has been getting out of hand at times as well during the day).

  8. Give Shuster the shaft, MSNBC.
    He does not have the wit and skill to play with the big boys.

  9. fanofgrendel Says:

    Shuster is a schiester.

  10. Bill O’Reilly is still claiming that Dennis Leary stated, that there is no such thing as Autism groups him with Michael Savage This past week segment of the Factor. Dennis Leary was on Imus in the Morning promoting his book, he wrote a chapter on this, and said he was mis -quoted. Dennis Leary was drawing distinction between children who really have autism and those mis diagnosed. Shuster reminds me of what Bill O’Reilly did last week, they are not KEEPING UP. Doesn’t that have something to do with their staff, researchers, producers ect?

  11. grandpadave Says:

    Most TV big talking heads have trouble with the phrases “I was wrong” and “I made a mistake”.

  12. Laree, the distinction Leary drew was probably a little too fine for a lot of people. It’s too bad because he has a point. We’ve gone from a society that had no clue about autism – I have Aspergers, a high functioning form of it that didn’t even have a name until 1994 – to one in which sometimes it seems like EVERYTHING, especially ADD, is called autism. Autism is the new black.

    I’m not sure what you mean about Shuster not keeping up. I don’t agree with his style or putting opinion in Dayside, but his assessment of Sarah Palin seemed correct to me. It took her forever to answer a simple (if condescending) question, and she blames everybody else for any problems she had in the campaign.

    Olbermann pointed out a bit of irony I hadn’t noticed. The YouTube video displays the title “How Obama Got Elected” over a picture of Palin. Pretty funny.

  13. joremi

    When I state keeping up I guess I mean the discussion has advanced. When O’Reilly, put Leary in Savages camp, that was not a FACT he calls his show The Factor. Who keeps up their talking points ect..their staff. I would think they both would be want to be up to date with the latest on the topics they are discussing. Palin did state what she read one was USA Today. Shuster wasn’t happy about how long it takes her to get to the “Meat” the answer to the actual question “What do you Read” Palin meanwhile was focusing on the treatment she received from the media speaking of what she reads is not her focus.

    As far as Autism goes, there is more information about children with Autism, then adults who are with coping with Autism- that is my personal opinion. I don’t think O’Reilly, is the expert on the subject he needs to refresh his research.

    Shuster is criticizing Palin’s delivery, when he complains how long it takes Sarah Palin to answer an original question posed to her by Katie Curic. That is style, and he is trying to turn it into substance argument. I think MSNBC was highly critical of Sarah Palin. Shuster watched clips of Zielger’s video, how much? Did he have his staff go over the clips, and they gave him their highlights, which could be argued “subjective” not “objective” This isn’t keeping up with the discussion about (Palin’s treatment by the Media) to me it is more Gotcha Journalism.

  14. I guess I just don’t understand why conservatives are so defensive about Palin. Going from completely unknown to attack dog requires the press to inquire about you. It’s their job. I thought Obama’s lack of experience, the Rev. Wright and Bill Ayres were all fair game for the press to look into. It wasn’t Gotcha journalism, it was questions I liked his answers to. The press took a look at Palin and asked her questions. She didn’t handle it well and now acts like – as do her defenders – it shouldn’t have happened. I don’t get that.

  15. I am not defensive, there is a double standard being applied to Governor Sarah Palin. She is still defending herself against smears that her son Trig is not really her son. That isn’t journalism, and it is “gotcha” how many things did Joe Biden say during the campaign, that are still being discussed in the Press today? I am not going to compare the VP nominee to the Presidential nominee, the “Fair” comparison is to Joe Biden the other VP nominee in the race.

    Which is not to suggest that she’s blowing smoke. Via Gateway Pundit, here’s the latest from the Anchorage Daily News. They’re still pursuing the “Trig is really Bristol’s son” smear.

  16. It reminded me of a Megan Kelley moment, when someone says something about fnc and she goes nuts. its not profesional.

  17. These two actually had another sitdown on MSDNC later in the day, and Shuster basically proved Ziegler’s point from the first interview.. that he didn’t do his homework and didn’t know what he was talking about.

    It again became a shoutfest and Ziegler ended it by thanking Shuster for interviewing him, because he knew Matthews and Olbermann never word. Shuster, of course, defended his heroes, which is laughable, because everyone knows Olbermann NEVER has on a viewpoint that differs with his own.

  18. joeremi Says:
    January 10, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I guess I just don’t understand why conservatives are so defensive about Palin. Going from completely unknown to attack dog requires the press to inquire about you. It’s their job. I thought Obama’s lack of experience, the Rev. Wright and Bill Ayres were all fair game for the press to look into. It wasn’t Gotcha journalism, it was questions I liked his answers to. The press took a look at Palin and asked her questions. She didn’t handle it well and now acts like – as do her defenders – it shouldn’t have happened. I don’t get that.


    The way Sarah Palin was questioned was so not the same as the way Obama was questioned. If Sarah Palin had ties to terrorists and racists, I wouldn’t have a problem with questioning that. Even if she had ties to an Alaskan secessionist movement, I could see questioning that. But that’s not what they questioned. They questioned her parenting, they attacked her teenage daughter, they attacked her clothes, they attacked the parentage of her baby, they did everything they could to make her look stupid – including harping on the book question and the Bush doctrine question. Charlie Gibson sat there looking his nose down on her during the entire interview. They went to her alma mater to see her grades and talk to her professors. They continually downplayed her experience, only talking about her being mayor of a small town. They seem to have forgotten she was the sitting governor of Alaska!

    But I didn’t see the same scrutiny of Obama – no one wondered how he would raise 2 children in the WH. Never heard a complaint about the way he dressed or the money he spent. Don’t remember anyone trying to find out if he’d ever had an affair. And somehow it got overlooked by the MSM when he said there are 57 states, when he said Iran was a small country, not much of a threat, when he didn’t know where Pakistan was in relationship to Afghanistan. No one seems to care Obama refused to release his grades. No one seemed to care that Obama’s only experience was 4 years as a state senator and 2 in the US Senate – that was enough, but Palin’s somehow wasn’t.

    The treatment and the scrutiny was sooo not the same!

  19. Actually there was an online -internet question about a Barack Obama affair, that unlike Sarah Palin’s children Bristol and Trig, never made it into the MSM. Google “Who is Vera Baker, and why is she in Martinique” Take a look at the hits you get back it is unreal. But even today they are trying to keep the Trig isn’t Sarah Palin’s son, smear going. Shuster noticeably biased? Well yes but that isn’t any kind of surprise.

  20. bushleaguer Says:

    As far as the politics are concerned, I don’t get why Sarah Palin doesn’t just brush this off. There is a youtube clip of her from early 2008 at a conference where she says (paraphrasling) that Hillary Clinton isn’t doing females in politics or herself any good when she was calling foul on the press, and Gov. Palin was right. She should let it go and just say that she knows who she and her family are and stands on her record.
    Just like the idiotic nonsense that emerged about Obama on the internet (he attended a Madrassa and is a secret Muslim….he isn’t an American citizen…..some wacko guy saying he had an affair and did drugs with Obama in Chicago….etc), she should either have scolded the press early on for taking an interest in internet lore or just ignored it.

  21. I don’t believe Shuster, who used the word “pimped” in regards to what was happening to Chelsea Clinton during her mother’s campaign, ever suggested that Hillary wasn’t Chelsea’s mother? If Barack Obama can whine about the Fox News Coverage. I don’t see why a Woman candidate can’t take on MSNBC coverage.

  22. The “It’s not Sarah’s kid” story was not pursued by the MSM. Left wing blogs, just like right wing blogs that spread the Muslim crap, are not mainstream.

    Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy was a story because of Palin’s support for abstinence-only education. Palin’s wardrobe malfunction was a story because the small-town-aw-shucks girl, running on the Republican cut spending platform, went on a gigantic shopping spree with the RNC’s money. If something in your personal life contradicts your campaign, it’s a legitimate news story that voters should be aware of.

  23. Barack Obama himself came out and stated “Candidates Children, and Spouses are off limits” I am sure there is a copy of him saying this on you tube. What part of children are off limits don’t people get? Oh yeah the Left, thought he just meant his spouse and his children.

  24. Barack Obama doesn’t get to decide what is reportable. It was a smart campaign move for him to say that. A Vice-Presidential candidate who doesn’t support contraception education in high school had a pregnant teenager at home. How is that not news?

    The right wing needs to be honest. They consider any criticism to be a left wing biased attack. It’s a messianic approach that I find very disturbing. “We’re on God’s side and we’re right and if you disagree, there’s something wrong with you.” I know, I used to be a right wing conservative.

  25. Then the left needs to be honest too, Joe. If you want to talk about hypocrisy on the right, what about the same on the left? How is it that the Dems can constantly lecture us about race relations and equality and racism but have an ex-KKK member as a sitting senator, not say a word when racist cartoons are printed about Condoleeza Rice, and do nothing but attack, condemn and criticize when a minority is appointed to high office. (Um, Rice, Alberto Gonzalez, Clarence Thomas.) I didn’t see any minorities in high office during the Clinton administration, which is even more notable since Clinton often likes to consider himself the first black president. (And yes, I think Mr. Obama might have something to say about that…) And let’s not forget how Democratic policies often keep minorities dependent on government and in poverty instead of helping them get out of it.

    Oh, wait, that’s right, they’re too busy picking on Sarah Palin’s clothes and children to do anything that actually helps these causes they claim to stand for…..

  26. First, that’s an oh-yeah-what-about-you argument which I have no interest in engaging in and, second, don’t come to me for a blanket defense of the Democratic Party. Both sides have positives and negatives. Besides, I’m talking about what constitutes fair press coverage, and alluding to the fact that right wing conservatives seem to have a problem with it.

  27. bushleaguer Says:

    Laree – I agree that Sarah Palin had every right to go after MSNBC just as Hillary Clinton’s campaign went after them when Schuster uttered the “pimped out” line that got him suspended.

    However, the election is over. I think she needs to let this go if she wants to be a player on the national scene. Bashing Katie Couric (who was not mean, sarcastic or dismissive in any way) as “not the center of the universe” is just petty.

    On a side note – when using the term “mainstream media,” do the folks here consider cable news to fall into that category?

  28. OK then. What would have been fair is for the media to investigate and report on Obama’s ties to Tony Rezko and the fact that Michelle Obama got a huge promotion shortly after her husband was elected to the Senate the same way they investigated and reported on Sarah Palin’s “Troopergate” and her daughter’s pregnancy.

    The point is that if it’s a newsworthy item for one candidate, it should be newsworthy item for all candidates. If there was even a hint that Todd and Sarah Palin had made a sweetheart deal to buy their home, you can bet the media would have seen blood in the water, but not so much when it was Barack Obama. If they decide it’s not newsworthy for Barack Obama, then it shouldn’t be newsworthy for Sarah Palin either.

  29. bushleaguer

    I think I used to think of CNN as part of the MSM but something happened, the internet and the competition has spun some kind of hybrid for ratings, this has to do with advertising dollars.

    I think Katie Curic dined out on her interview of Governor Sarah Palin, I think she probably got calls like, atta girl, from her liberal friends.

    I don’t know if it will hurt Gov Sarah Palin in the long run it sure keeps her name in the news.

    I am not a Republican, I am an Independent before that I was a Democrat, not a Liberal nor a Progressive. The Democrat Party used to be The Big Tent Party.

    I heard and read lots of criticism of Fox News, during the Campaign of there reporting of Barack Obama I heard Barack Obama comment and criticize Fox News -Sean Hannity, to name one, so he can criticize but Governor Sarah Palin can’t criticize MSNBC?

  30. Paculina – I heard plenty about Rezko on all three cablers (yes, mainstream), it just didn’t have any traction. FNC brought it up all the time. Like it or not, the voters didn’t see much there there. It’s like what Brit Hume said Election Night: the scary negatives thrown at Obama didn’t fit the guy they saw with they’re own eyes in the debates.

    Laree – It’s the Democratic Party, not Democrat Party. And nobody’s saying Palin can’t criticize MSNBC. Bushleaguer just thinks it’s a stupid tactic and I agree. She needs to tear a page from the Obama handbook and get some positives in the air. She was an attack dog in the campaign, and now she seems to spend most of her time criticizing that campaign and the media. It makes her seem self-centered, ungrateful and, um, kind of a jerk.

    I saw her in her at-home interviews with Greta and she was very appealing and quite funny. In an interview with another reporter she said shooting hoops with Obama would be “awesome”. It was adorable. If she wants a shot at anything beyond the hard right vote in 2012, which aint enough, she should cheer up and reintroduce herself.

  31. joeremi

    Obviously I disagree.

  32. Mike Beckham Says:

    First of all, I agree about Shep – I don’t know who he voted for, or if he voted at all. Great journalist.

    Now on on Shuster… I believe Journalists should call out B.S. not just be boring. Being Fair and Balanced does not just involve listening to talking heads without challenging them.

    However Shuster should stick to doing his 1600 show which from all accounts has improved now its not hosted by Gregory who didn’t belong on cable. He should be able to deliver opinion if he wishes so but stick to 6pm.

  33. […] watching the Mark Simone/David Shuster interview right now and it’s almost as bad as the John Ziegler interview with Shuster once again challenging conservatives during MSNBC dayside and Simone trying to correct […]

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