Yesterday, the National Broadcasting Company buried the memory of Tim Russert by turning Meet the Press into a campaign event for Barack Obama.
People connected with the Sunday talk shows - producers, bookers, hosts, etc. - understand that they get measured, not on whether they shed light on the shadows within the folds of complex issues, but whether they make news.
That is, does something said on Sunday show up on the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post on Monday.
To do that, the Sunday shows spend a great deal of time and effort getting the guest or guests most likely to make news. It even has a name: "The Get." As in, "Meet the Press" had The Get when they booked Colin Powell to be on yesterday's program.
As soon as word leaked out that Powell was going to be on "Meet" it was assumed that he would be endorsing Obama. Why else would he be on? To discuss bilateral relations between the U.S. and Chad?
Dear Mr. Mullings:
Am I mistaken, or did Chris Wallace have John McCain as his guest on Fox News Sunday? Isn't that a campaign event on behalf of McCain by Fox?
There is a difference between having an actual candidate on to defend his or her record and positions and having Colin Powell spending the first half of the show endorsing Obama - without a countervailing supporter of John McCain on at the same time.
I'm still not so sure.
I am. If NBC wanted to demonstrate "fairness" (keep that word in mind as we head into the era of an all-Democrat Washington) they would have had Joe Lieberman on with Powell - a Democrat who is voting for McCain.
Powell claimed that race had nothing to do with his announcement; saying if that were the basis of his decision to endorse Obama he could have done it months ago. He said he was disturbed by the continued Conservative bent of the Republican Party.
Yeah, right. Do you think that NBC would have booked Warren Christopher to announce he was voting for McCain if Christopher thought the Democrats were veering too far to the left?
If the Republican Party were lurching to the right, Mike Huckabee would be the nominee, not "centrist" John McCain.
And, by the way, when he was climbing his way up through the Washington, DC power vines:
Powell was appointed National Security Advisor by Ronald Reagan. Pretty conservative, by most accounts.
He was nominated to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by George H.W. Bush. Moderate, in most people's thinking.
He was nominated to be Secretary of State by President George W. Bush. Certainly to 41's right.
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