“You want a quick and easy introduction to media bias?” Byron York — with a blatant example from NBC — is happy to oblige:
Just look at the reception given to author Ron Suskind when he appeared on NBC’s “Today” show recently to promote his new book, “Confidence Men,” which is critical of President Obama — and then compare it to the reception Suskind received in 2004 when he appeared on “Today” to tout another book, “The Price of Loyalty,” which was critical of President George W. Bush.
Start with the new book. The newsworthy bits in “Confidence Men” are well known: Suskind reports the Obama White House is tough on women, with former aide Anita Dunn calling it “a genuinely hostile workplace to women.” Suskind also says Obama’s top economic advisers had so little regard for the president that former National Economic Council chief Larry Summers said, “There’s no adult in charge.” And Suskind writes that on at least one occasion, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner ignored a clear directive from the president.
A lot of that is small-scale Washington chatter. The bigger picture from the book is one of a president not up to the job during perilous economic times. And that’s not an image the White House wants to encourage with the 2012 re-election effort under way. So White House officials pushed back hard — with a big assist from “Today.”
Among the less substantive criticisms of the book, White House press secretary Jay Carney has suggested that Suskind lifted a small passage from Wikipedia. So with all the other issues that might be discussed, “Today” anchor Ann Curry began the interview with this: “Did you or did you not lift that passage from Wikipedia?”
Of course not, Suskind said. (Comparing the texts, no fair-minded reader would convict him of the charge.) Suskind tried to be dismissive, saying that “after a week, that’s all (the White House) came up with.”
“Well, they’ve actually come up with more,” Curry responded. “So let me get to it.”
Why, it’s as if the White House has a direct line to email talking points to NBC.
(Although, reading York’s transcript, it is fun to watch Curry attempt to switch into snarling leftwing attack dog mode. Especially since, as a recent Newsbusters post on The Today Show hostess reminds us, “This is the same Ann Curry that could not find Illinois on a map. The same Ann Curry that wished all weapons could be inflatable toys. The same Ann Curry that proclaimed that a blender powered by a bicycle could actually ‘save the environment!'”)
Related: Watch NBC’s David Gregory do his damnedest to jam a pro-Obama soundbite into Benjamin Netanyahu’s mouth on Sunday’s Meet the Press, until Netanyahu finally told Gregory, “David, you’re trying to throw me under the bus of American politics. And guess what, I’m not going to be thrown there.”