One day after saying Obama "needs a new attack" against Clinton, Gibson criticized "NBC anchor" for offering advice to Obama

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

Fox News' John Gibson criticized an "NBC news anchor" -- identified by guest Monica Crowley as MSNBC host Chris Matthews -- for offering Sen. Barack Obama advice on what he "needs to say" to beat Sen. Hillary Clinton, asking, "Is it legitimate for one news anchor to publicly advise one candidate on how to beat another, and still try to pretend he's objective and neutral? My friends, fair and balanced this is not." But the day before, Gibson had offered his own advice to Obama on how to go after Clinton, asserting: "I think if Obama is going to close the gap with Hillary, he needs a new attack."

On the October 30 edition of Fox News' The Big Story, host John Gibson criticized an "NBC news anchor" -- identified by his guest, conservative radio host Monica Crowley, as MSNBC host Chris Matthews -- for offering Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) advice on what he "needs to say" regarding Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). Gibson asserted: "An NBC news anchor actually titled his advice to Barack Obama, quote, 'What Obama needs to say,' end quote, if he wants to beat Hillary Clinton, and then he read the speech he says Obama has to give. Is it legitimate for one news anchor to publicly advise one candidate on how to beat another, and still try to pretend he's objective and neutral? My friends, fair and balanced this is not." On the October 29 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Matthews read a brief statement outlining what he thought Obama "should say starting tomorrow night" about Clinton "at the big MSNBC debate in my hometown of Philly." However, Gibson offered Obama some advice of his own regarding Clinton on the October 29 edition of The Big Story, saying: "When you look at the polls and see he is behind more than 20 points nationally -- and three or four points in the all-important Iowa caucuses -- you'd think Obama could be tougher than that. She has not been candid? That's attacking Hillary? Obama better wake up. That isn't even throwing an elbow." Gibson then asserted: "I think if Obama is going to close the gap with Hillary, he needs a new attack."

Gibson went on to ask Crowley: "So, Monica, what is going on that somebody who's moderating these debates is going on the air and saying, 'Look, this is what one of these candidates has to say to beat another'?" Crowley replied: "Shocking, I know, coming from Chris Matthews."

Gibson's co-host Heather Nauert introduced the October 30 segment by claiming that the "big issue is, once again, liberal bias in the media," adding: "At the same time, a new study says Democrats get not only more coverage in the media, but more positive coverage than Republicans." Neither Nauert nor Gibson noted that the study, conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ), found that the gap in coverage of Republicans and Democrats was reflected in all the media outlets studied, including "talk radio and Fox News," which "argue they are counterbalancing liberal bias in the media." From the PEJ study, released on October 29:

In the first five months of the campaign, the media found Democrats more newsworthy than Republicans. From January through May 2007, nearly half of 2008 election stories, 49%, focused on Democratic candidates, while less than a third, 31%, focused on Republicans. More than half of this difference can be accounted for by the fact that Democrats started announcing their campaigns a month earlier than Republicans. It is worth noting, however, that the gap existed in other months as well, and also was reflected in all the media platforms studied, including some, such as talk radio and Fox News, that argue they are counterbalancing liberal bias in the media. In three of different news sectors -- morning network shows, evening network news, and talk radio -- the ratio of Democratic to Republican was nearly 2 to 1.

Gibson's attacks on Matthews and NBC are just the latest salvos in an ongoing feud between Fox News and NBC/MSNBC, a conflict Media Matters for America has extensively documented.

From the October 30 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson and Heather Nauert:

HEATHER NAUERT (co-host): The big issue is, once again, liberal bias in the media. At the same time, a new study says Democrats get not only more coverage in the media, but more positive coverage than Republicans. One of the moderators of one of this year's Democrat debates actually gave specific advice on his left-leaning MSNBC news show to one of the Democrat candidates on how to beat his opponent.

GIBSON: An NBC news anchor actually titled his advice to Barack Obama, quote, "What Obama needs to say," end quote, if he wants to beat Hillary Clinton, and then he read the speech he says Obama has to give. Is it legitimate for one news anchor to publicly adviser one candidate on how to defeat another and still try to pretend he's objective and neutral in his news presentations? My friends, fair and balanced this is not.

With us now, nationally syndicated radio host Monica Crowley. So, Monica, what is going on that somebody who's moderating these debates is going on the air and saying, "Look, this is what one of these candidates has to say to beat another"?

CROWLEY: Shocking, I know, coming from Chris Matthews. It's really -- it's such a big surprise. Look, everybody knows that Chris Matthews is a Democrat. He worked for Tip O'Neill, he's got a long history in Democratic activism and Democratic politics. And that's fine if he wants to dispense advice to the Democratic presidential candidates as a subjective, opinion-based guy. But to continue to present himself as some sort of objective news anchor is really disingenuous. It's not fair to the audience and -- but this is typical of what's happening in the mainstream media. It's not just MSNBC, it's across the board.

GIBSON: It's NBC in particular. I mean, there's two of them now doing this. Wouldn't you think that the actual moderators of the debates, the news anchors who have to work in the same company under the same peacock, might object to this kind of bias showing up so clearly?

From the October 29 edition of The Big Story:

GIBSON: Obama is staring down the barrels of the Hillary Clinton double-barrel shotgun political machine. She is mowing 'em down, and Obama has finally decided to fight back. Over the weekend, he gave an interview or two attacking Hillary and seeming to dump his above-it-all politics of hope. For instance, he savaged Mrs. Clinton with the observation that she has not been candid in describing her views on critical policy issues.

When you look at the polls and see he's behind more than 20 points nationally -- and three or four points in the all-important Iowa caucuses -- you'd think Obama could be tougher than that. She's not been candid? That's attacking Hillary? Obama better wake up. That isn't even throwing an elbow.

Yes, she's been vague and less than candid. That's because she's already running against a Republican in the general election. Obama doesn't realize she thinks she has already beat him and doesn't have to explain anything for him. So maybe that explains why there is a sudden profusion of newspaper stories that Obama is going to go on the offensive and attack. Maybe he figures he's got to do something before it's too late.

Problem is, he's already staked his reputation on a style of politics that is above it all. And while floating on high hasn't been a winning position, it's what he's known for. Will anybody believe Obama is suddenly tough? Will it matter? If he's playing catch-up, has he jumped into the mud just a little too late? I think if Obama is going to close the gap with Hillary, he needs a new attack. And right now, it is hard to imagine what hasn't already been thrown at her.

From the October 29 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: It's the 11th hour of the fight for the Democratic presidential domination. Barack Obama, do you know where your campaign is? Let's play Hardball.

Good evening. I'm Chris Matthews, and welcome to Hardball. The 2008 election -- that's the spotlight tonight. Iowa, which starts the whole thing January 3, is now a dead heat between Hillary and Obama.

Here's what I think Obama should say starting tomorrow night at the big MSNBC debate in my hometown of Philly. Quote, "This country's in a rut, a rut that leads to endless war in Iraq, that leads to inevitable war with Iran. The American people, and not just the Democrats, want to get our country out of this rut. The great majority of them want this election to take us to a new place, not just led by someone smarter along the same rut. I promise to take us to that new place. Senator Clinton is smart. She's hardworking. She's serious. But every vote she has cast, every word she has spoken says yes to the status quo. She voted to approve the war with Iraq. She just voted with the hawks to target Iran. She always seems to choose the safe vote that leaves this country in the same rut, the rut of fearful politics and endless war. I promise change. I promise a new approach. I promise deliverance from the rut of endless war in Iraq, inevitable war in Iran. So there you have it. It's for you, my fellow Democrats, to decide. If you think Bush would have been succeeded with his policies if they were better executed, then go with Senator Clinton. If you think the Bush policies were wrong, dead wrong, I'm with you."

Well, that's what Senator Obama would say if he wants to really challenge Hillary Clinton for the leadership of the Democratic Party. And tomorrow night, the fight moves to Philadelphia for the big debate at Drexel University, where half my family went to school and I've got an honorary degree. Hardball will be live, 5, 7, and 11, with post-debate coverage.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
John Gibson
Show/Publication
The Big Story with John Gibson
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine, 2008 Elections
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