On MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews's pre-debate panel on October 8 comprised the journalists Howard Fineman, David Gregory, Norah O'Donnell, and ... Ben Ginsberg. Although Benjamin L. Ginsberg is an “MSNBC contributor,” he is not a journalist; he is a lawyer with partisan ties -- a fact Matthews notes whenever he appears on Hardball. In August, Ginsberg resigned from his position as chief outside counsel to the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign after he acknowledged that he had been providing legal advice to the discredited anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
In addition to having served as national counsel to the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign, Ginsberg, a partner in the law firm of Patton Boggs LLP, is the former general counsel to the Republican National Committee. According to his bio on the Patton Boggs website, "[H]e played a central role in the 2000 Florida recount."
Ginsberg was also a panelist for MSNBC's debate coverage of the first presidential debate on September 30, as well as of the October 5 vice presidential debate. Here's a sample of Ginsberg's contribution to MSNBC's post-vice presidential debate coverage:
MATTHEWS: Ben, you help me get the story straight right now. Was Iraq involved with 9-11?
GINSBERG: As far as we know, there were certainly insinuations in the 9-11 Commission report that there were. As for the absolute truth of the matter ...
MATTHEWS: No, there weren't. No, there weren't. No, there were not. I'm sorry, Ben. I have got to correct you here.
Ginsberg was wrong. Matthews was right. From the 9-11 Commission Report:
We have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States.