Russert claimed National Review's York is an "objective observer of American politics"

››› ››› BEN ARMBRUSTER

On Meet the Press, Tim Russert noted that National Review White House correspondent Byron York is "a conservative writer," but then added that York is "an interesting, objective observer of American politics," without elaborating on the term "objective." Media Matters for America has documented numerous instances of conservative misinformation from York.

On the June 11 broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert noted that National Review White House correspondent Byron York is "a conservative writer," but then added that York is "an interesting, objective observer of American politics." While Russert did not elaborate on what made York "objective," Media Matters for America has documented numerous instances of conservative misinformation from York.

For example, York has misrepresented key elements of the CIA leak investigation:

  • York recently claimed that court papers -- released April 6 -- pertaining to special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's investigation of former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby "contained the erroneous and later-corrected suggestion that Libby lied about the contents of the National Intelligence Estimate [NIE]." York, however, misstated Fitzgerald's correction. According to those original papers, Libby testified that Vice President Dick Cheney instructed him to tell former New York Times reporter Judith Miller that a "key judgment" of the 2002 NIE was that Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure" uranium. Fitzgerald amended the prior assertion -- that Libby testified that Cheney authorized him to tell Miller that it was a "key judgment" -- not the "suggestion that Libby lied about the contents of the" NIE, as York wrote.
  • In response to news of FBI interviews further confirming that neighbors of former CIA operative Valerie Plame did not know of her employment with the agency before syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak's July 14, 2003, column identified her, York revived a Washington Times editorial's baseless conclusion that Plame's neighbors did, in fact, know of her covert status.

In addition, York has:

  • misrepresented an ABC News/Washington Post poll to claim that "solid majorities of those surveyed accept the president's underlying rationale for [Social Security] reform, and support his main proposal for that reform [private investment accounts funded by payroll taxes]."
  • repeated unwarranted attacks on former CBS anchor Dan Rather, saying that "conservative watchdog groups" have targeted Rather because "he's had some very weird episodes that have been real chinks in his armor, like 'Kenneth, what's the frequency?' and ... a weird episode in Chicago with a cab." In fact, neither of the two episodes mentioned by York involved anything Rather did, but instead, actions taken against him.
  • claimed that Osama bin Laden, in a videotape released days before the 2004 presidential election, "suggested that ... if states vote against [President] Bush, then we'll [Al Qaeda] protect you in the future." York's comment was apparently based on a translation of the 2004 video by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an organization with conservative ties. As Media Matters for America noted, the MEMRI translation, which indicated that bin Laden threatened individual U.S. states not to vote for President Bush, has been disputed by numerous scholars and experts.

From the June 11 broadcast of NBC's Meet the Press:

RUSSERT: Byron York, you're a conservative writer, but a -- an interesting, objective observer of American politics. Be counterintuitive here. Who do you think would be the strongest Democrat to run against the Republicans in 2008?

YORK: Well, we haven't had a campaign yet, but actually I do think that despite the misgivings about Mrs. Clinton, I think there's a real possibility that -- that she actually can go ahead and win the nomination.

But, you know, as far as the -- the strength of the so-called "netroots," a writer a while back called Markos Moulitsas [Zúniga] a king-maker, to which another blogger, Mickey Kaus, replied, "Yeah? Name the king." The fact is, is that they -- Markos and the Daily Kos has lent its support to more than a dozen candidates in the past couple of years and none of them have won. I will say that the races that they -- they seem most excited about right now are the race against Conrad Burns [R], Senator Burns in Montana, where they're very happy with the victory of a candidate named Jon Tester, and also in Connecticut where they're -- they're supporting Ned Lamont against Senator Joseph Lieberman [D]. And if you were out here at the convention, you almost got the sense that they would rather defeat Lieberman in a primary than the Republican candidate in the fall. I mean, they're very, very enthusiastic, and you have to remember, some of this netroots enthusiasm cuts both ways. It cuts against Democrats as well as for them.

Network/Outlet
NBC
Person
Tim Russert, Byron York
Show/Publication
Meet the Press
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