Like NBC colleagues Matthews and Russert, David Gregory suggested media can't adequately cover both Dem primary and McCain

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

On MSNBC's Race for the White House, host David Gregory, like NBC colleagues Tim Russert and Chris Matthews, suggested that it is not possible for the media to adequately cover both the Democratic primary race and Sen. John McCain. Gregory stated, "John McCain has not gotten a lot of scrutiny right now because we've had an historic Democratic race to contend with, but does that necessarily hold up as we go along?"

During the May 12 edition of MSNBC's Race for the White House, MSNBC contributor Rachel Maddow asserted that "the press does have a historical love affair with [Sen.] John McCain" and that Sen. Barack Obama's campaign has to "have a strategy to combat it." Following Maddow's comments, host David Gregory replied: "Is it as simple as that ... Or is there more to it? It's not just about the press here. Yeah, John McCain has not gotten a lot of scrutiny right now because we've had an historic Democratic race to contend with, but does that necessarily hold up as we go along?" WNBC political reporter Jay DeDapper responded, "Yeah, I mean, I would say that John McCain, if he's had a free pass, nobody has seen it."

Gregory is not the only NBC media figure to suggest that it is not possible for the media to adequately cover both the Democratic primary and the presumptive Republican nominee. As Media Matters for America noted, during MSNBC's coverage of the May 6 primaries, Hardball host Chris Matthews offered a similar walk-and-chew-gum explanation for what he acknowledged to be a lack of media scrutiny of McCain. In that same conversation, NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert -- like Gregory -- suggested that the media would turn their attention to McCain in due time: "[W]hen Senator McCain is back in the media's light, he'll receive the same kind of scrutiny."

From the May 12 edition of MSNBC's Race for the White House with David Gregory:

GREGORY: Rachel, we're talking tactics here. How is Barack Obama, who's had a reputation for not hitting back strongly enough, going to take on the Republicans in the fall?

MADDOW: Well, it's interesting, because both McCain and Obama are pledging that they will not sling that mud themselves, although they are now both hedging -- particularly on McCain's side -- hedging as to how much the candidate will intervene if it's outside groups who are slinging that mud. I do agree that this is probably going to be a nasty campaign, just because campaigning in America for big national offices is nasty now.

But I think, you know, also, Barack Obama needs to contend with the fact that the press has been willing to be really harsh on him during this primary campaign. And the press does have a historical love affair with John McCain. That can't just be something you complain about. You have to have a strategy to combat it.

GREGORY: Is it as simple as that, Jay DeDapper? Or is there more to it? It's not just about the press here. Yeah, John McCain has not gotten a lot of scrutiny right now because we've had an historic Democratic race to contend with, but does that necessarily hold up as we go along?

DeDAPPER: Yeah, I mean, I would say that John McCain, if he's had a free pass, nobody has seen it. All the air has been sucked out of the room by the Democrats. And if anything, John McCain hasn't got much attention, which is this whole argument that maybe all of this time that the Democratic race has gone on has actually benefited Democrats and not McCain. But to that point, I just think that McCain, in this case, and Obama are both going to go at it hard with each other. But those secondary groups that we have seen in other elections are going to play a really nasty role, and they're not going to be able to control them. There's too much passion. There's too much anger. There's too much at stake, as both candidates say, in this election.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
David Gregory
Show/Publication
Race for the White House with David Gregory
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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